Microsoft's VP of communications says media coverage has been too harsh lately

There has certainly been a ton of media coverage surrounding the retirement announcement of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Friday, and admittedly, much of it has concentrated on the mistakes that some people feel Ballmer made during his tenure leading the company.

Without naming any names, including Ballmer's, the VP of Corporate Communications at Microsoft, Frank Shaw, wrote a lengthy post on the company's official blog today that took much of the media to task for their coverage of Ballmer's announcement and of Microsoft under his leadership.

The post, titled, "On Dickens, Rashomon and Twitter" features Shaw quoting A Tale of Two Cities and mentioning the classic Akira Kurosawa film (not to mention the recent CGI animated movie "Hoodwinked") to support his argument that perhaps some members of the media have not given Microsoft a fair share since Ballmer's retirement announcement. Shaw states:

One approach has been to focus exclusively on some of our consumer businesses, and then judge us harshly while ignoring the successes we’ve had elsewhere. Another approach has been to go a step further, criticize our lack of “focus” and suggest that those other successes are actually a distraction from what they believe should be our single priority. What these themes reveal is a single narrow frame through which the writers and pundits view the industry itself that leads them to reach these conclusions.

Shaw hints that Microsoft is not going to turn into a company that just works on enterprise and businesses services and that releasing products for consumers will still be a priority, adding that " ... people don’t stop being people when they go to work or stop making things happen when they go home."

Without a doubt, there's been tons of negative comments directed at Ballmer specifically and at Microsoft in general. However, the fact is that Microsoft is still a highly profitable company and it has tens of billions of dollars in the bank they can still use to acquire businesses and/or expand their efforts. All of that came while Ballmer was in charge and indeed, he made decisions that helped make the company's strong financial stance possible. The only difference between Friday and today is that we know that at some point, someone else at Microsoft will have to keep that ball rolling in the right direction.

Source: Microsoft | Image via The Weinstein Company

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Well I se the usual hate MS wagon continues on.

I don't see the problem with someone at MS reacting to media coverage their find unfair. Oh I forgot, its MS, so that means that are held to different rules then about every other company.

Anyone looking at MS' overall business objectively can clearly see hits and misses. Win 8 and Windows Phone are slow burners. MS made some mistakes in its launch of Win 8. However, they also have some big hits including Azure and Office 365. Even WP, while growing slowly, is growing and on a trend up, not down.

For some reason many people cant see past their own problems with say Windows 8. Seriously, its like they think MS' only billion dollar business is Windows. They equate Win 8's slow adoption to a company wide crash, which is simply incorrect. I see so many people posting around the net that are clearly not happy with Win 8 and use that as a springboard to ignore and put down everything else MS does.

Bottom line is that MS can turn around Windows 8 as long as they aggressively pursue updates and 8.1 is a good start. Believe it or not, but MS needs this OS to work. They can't ignore the tablet market and simply stick to the desktop pc model. If they do that, they stagnate and shrink with the rest of the pc market. I don't think investors or these 'analysts' would be to kind to MS if they did. So the concept is a good one in my opinion, they just need to move past version 1.0 of Metro. I see plenty of parallels to how Android and iOS started out. It just takes time and some aren't interested in seeing how it improves over time.

media? That's being generous. I wouldn't call websites run by amateurs who publish outright lies, steal information without crediting, and put out just about any tip that comes in so they can be first, media.

They were awesome... and then they chose to be arrogant, this is just payback for their very own actions and I hope media continues showing how arrogant they can become not only for MS but for any company.

Removing the start menu even when there was enough feedback not to remove it, thus imposing the horrid metro interface.

Trying to impose a DRM only console, you can have as much DRM you want but let de user be the judge of full digital usage.

In other words, removing choice from the user.

LOL if anything, I think this is payback for Vista. Vista sold when the PC market was growing exponentially into the hundreds of millions. It was a horrible steaming pile of crap and people's faith in MS was massively damaged.

Windows 7 is still being discovered by a lot of people as a fast stable OS, what Vista should have been.

Now 8 is faster, more efficient, more stable and more robust than 7 - but takes a massive leap with the interface. And people still smart from Vista, and from Microsoft's bully-boy corporate tactics from the late 90s and early 2000s. That's why they're having a hard time catching a break with the press and with the public these days.

It has NOTHING to do with "removing choice from the user". There's heaps of choice! Go get the free Windows Classic Shell if you REALLY want your stupid old-fashioned start menu back.

Microsoft needs a massive PR/Marketing offensive to change people's attitudes towards its products. Apple was good at that... Microsoft has never been good at it, they've always relied on OEMs and partners to help sell their consumer products. It's got a bit of a learning curve to travel, and I think these direct comparison with iPad commercials are a great start. They demonstrate what the product is capable of,

I agree with your comments about Vista. The thing that made me the most angry is that I had to pay the full upgrade price for the dozen PCs and laptops I owned when I went to Windows 7. That was complete B.S.

Microsoft will become a thing of the past 25 years from now. It's just going to get worse once Ballmer is gone. Windows 8 & Surface are just 2 epic failures from Microsoft.

xpablo said,
Microsoft will become a thing of the past 25 years from now. It's just going to get worse once Ballmer is gone. Windows 8 & Surface are just 2 epic failures from Microsoft.

People said about "Apple" the same

nitins60 said,

People said about "Apple" the same

Are you talking about Apples in 90s when Steve was not there. MS has been a train wreck recently from Windows 8 to Surface to Xbox fiasco. They have been highly anti consumer and such a narrowly focused that it does not wonder if everyone did not like the direction they were going. If Ballmer had retired after launch of Win 7 then most of the people and media had not complained that much.

Auditor said,

Are you talking about Apples in 90s when Steve was not there. MS has been a train wreck recently from Windows 8 to Surface to Xbox fiasco. They have been highly anti consumer and such a narrowly focused that it does not wonder if everyone did not like the direction they were going. If Ballmer had retired after launch of Win 7 then most of the people and media had not complained that much.

Now you got the point. So, the success of Windows 7 under him is not seen by you. But the failure of Windows 8 is seen by you.

You got to believe in what you are doing and they are believing in what this path can lead to and I do. Unification of all systems. It's very hard to achieve and yes they are facing the problems and no one has previously done so effectively

xpablo said,
Microsoft will become a thing of the past 25 years from now. It's just going to get worse once Ballmer is gone. Windows 8 & Surface are just 2 epic failures from Microsoft.

Yet MS has grown leaps and bounds and continues to grow its current business products and inventing new billion dollar business like Azure.

Fact is people have been predicting the demise of MS for 20 years. From stating open office will kill MS office, Linux will destroy Windows, Apache will destroy Windows Server, Apple will kill off MS, Google will kill MS, Amazon will kill MS services, etc. None of this has come to fruition.

MS will not fail in the next 25 years simply for the fact it has a treasure chest of money and still makes billions in revenue. It could screw up entirely for years and they will still be around just for that fact alone. The reality is, while they do screw up, they also get things right quite often.

Case in point, just look at AOL. They should be dead by now, but they continue to exist. Definitely not like their glory days, but still relevant and still in business.

DRock said,

Fact is people have been predicting the demise of MS for 20 years. From stating open office will kill MS office, Linux will destroy Windows, Apache will destroy Windows Server, Apple will kill off MS, Google will kill MS, Amazon will kill MS services, etc. None of this has come to fruition.

The logical fallacy is that every market is a winner take-all market, like Windows. That's simply not true.

As Microsoft has discovered over the past ten years, a non-monopoly business -- even a business where it is not the leading vendor -- can be very profitable.

SQL Server is #2 in a 3-way database market, behind Oracle and ahead of IBM. Windows Server is a very distant #2 in the server market, behind Linux. etc.

Yet the Server division is immensely profitable. Far more profitable than it was 10 years ago.

(In fiscal year 2004, the Server division had 3/4 of the revenue, and 1/6 of the profit, of the Client division. Analysts were saying that obviously, obviously, it was because Microsoft faced a great deal of competition in Servers. Thus, it could take in lots of revenue, but would not make a lot of profit. Never say never.)

Auditor said,

Are you talking about Apples in 90s when Steve was not there. MS has been a train wreck recently from Windows 8 to Surface to Xbox fiasco. They have been highly anti consumer and such a narrowly focused that it does not wonder if everyone did not like the direction they were going. If Ballmer had retired after launch of Win 7 then most of the people and media had not complained that much.

My thoughts exactly!

1. Windows 8 is doing better than OSX
2. Surface isn't doing well
3. XBox One isn't even on sale yet, and you're already signing the death certificate... After some initial competitive coverage between MS and Sony, I've heard loads of coverage about the Xbox One and none at all about the PS4. I think I can see who's going to do better at launch time already, just like the 360 beat the 3.

So you're right about one out of three things... Congratulations.

No sympathy, none. Most of the Microsoft adverts have been very harsh lately too. Instead of promoting the benefits of their own products they are taking digs at other brands and products.

And those companies had not been attacking them, taking on their products? Sounds like your opinion of Microsoft is a LOT like some other countries opinions of the United States. Microsoft and Google compete in the services business - Bing vs. Google search and Outlook.com vs. GMail. If you are going to grow in the service business, it's not JUST about building up your own product (which both have been doing), you have to get out there and make the case for your own product - staying silent doesn't cut it. (By the way, whatever happened to AltaVista - the ancestor of both Google search AND Bing?) That is what a lot of Microsoft's critics are REALLY mad about - Microsoft isn't Spacely Sprockets. Instead, Microsoft has declared business against Google services and Apple's iPad - basically a Cogswell Cogs (long-term) strategy. A real long-term strategy when the vast majority are all about short-term safety is WAY against the grain.

derekaw said,
No sympathy, none. Most of the Microsoft adverts have been very harsh lately too. Instead of promoting the benefits of their own products they are taking digs at other brands and products.

Karma at work.