Microsoft blames OEMs (computer manufacturers) for bad reputation of Windows

bsod

For most of their corporate lives, Microsoft and Apple have had fundamentally different strategies. Apple has looked to combine the software and hardware experience, then charge a premium for the synergy. Microsoft has gone the path of software development and left the hardware to other companies, in the process being able to flood the market with varied products catering to varied consumer tastes at varied price points. However, with the recent rise of Apple vis-a-vis mobile devices, Microsoft has had an epiphany: it is the fault of OEMs (computer manufacturers, like Dell, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, etc.) that Windows has such a bad reputation.

At Microsoft’s TechForum, Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, had a bit to say when asked about Microsoft’s recent dive into the hardware market with Microsoft Surface (note the “we” in the following quote is referring to Microsoft):

I think one of the things evolved over a long time in the PC business was we stopped some years back really trying to actively curate what the devices looked like. We said, ‘oh the OEMs, that’s their design, they deal with it.’ We got huge diversity out of that at all possible price points, but it became hard to guarantee a uniform quality of experience that the end user had. If you were in front of a bad one then people said that was a piece of crap; it didn’t work a damn.

It turned out that we took the flak for the fact we had this highly variable experience.

Essentially, Mundie is saying they left the hardware to other companies and, when those companies failed to create quality machines, Microsoft took the reputation hit.

Mundie went on to say that, to solve this issue, Microsoft is now focusing on both software and hardware… like Apple. This is why Microsoft introduced Surface tablets and, although Mundie didn’t explicitly allude to mention it, why Microsoft will likely build their own smartphone in the near future.

As much as I hate to defend Microsoft, they do have somewhat of a valid point. You can buy crap Windows computers from crap manufacturers and have a crap experience. Or you can buy quality Windows computers from quality manufacturers and have a better experience. However, bad hardware is not an excuse for bad software. While I’m not saying Microsoft makes bad software per se (come on people, be fair — anything with such a large audience is bound to be the target of successful malicious attacks, regardless of how well or not-well the platform is coded), Windows is far from the perfect operating system. And Microsoft’s arrogance doesn’t help.

[via The Verge]

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14 comments

  1. cpusrvc

    [@DoktorThomas] Microsoft is not irrelevant. Many corporations are closely tied to them with their Outlook program (one of the best of organizational utilities) and Exchange server. Their Office suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) is a standard that many will not leave. Companies don’t want to retrain people because it is so expensive.

    MS might not be significant to private users, though. There are many alternatives to their products.

  2. DoktorThomas

    If I was a computer manufacturer, I’d reject win(h)8
    and tell them to send win7 or to go to hell. MSFT doesn’t seem to get that no one needs them; MSFT needs all of us. The world would go on just fine if MSFT just ended in the next 60 seconds…

  3. sl0j0n

    Hello, all.
    Back in the day, M$ / B. Gates said that a kilobyte of RAM was enough.
    It *NEVER* was, it *NEVER* would be, & it took M$ *YEARS* to finally admit it.
    Even worse, then they said that since it was “kernel code” that it couldn’t be patched.
    The “buffer overruns” that have afflicted M$ software for *DECADES* could have been prevented, *IF* M$ had only used their *OWN* SDKs to write their code.
    And then they want to blame the hardware companies because they believed M$’s BS about “minimum requirements” for the OS to run on?
    The longer M$ is around, the lamer their excuses get.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  4. Harry44Callahan

    I think what’s being missed here is that MS may not be making the hardware but they do give minimum specs and always have for there software. The problem they created there was making the minimum too skinny. If you want your software to fly faster increase the requirements —daaahh! But, of course that would mean more money for hardware manufacturers and less for them, which was unacceptable for money hungry MS.

  5. jayesstee

    Microsoft said “We said, ‘oh the OEMs, that’s their design . . . . . . didn’t work a damn.”
    If you read it in full, you will realize that Microsoft have themselves “diversified” (in the true non-MS meaning of the word).
    They have diversified into producing crap English as well as crap OSs.
    Can’t they afford a decent English Grammar Book an a decent Dictionary?

  6. BearPup

    The social advocate chimes in: were it not for the OEMs, millions of people in this country, and countless more millions throughout the world, would never be able to afford computers at all. Even if I wanted an Apple product (I don’t), there is no way I can afford to buy one of their machines.

    Better to have a slightly lower quality of hardware and be able to afford something, than to arguably have the best and be able to afford nothing! I was able to afford a refurbished laptop only because they are cheap to make and then sell refurbished, and the same is true of my Aide. We would have to do without entirely if we were forced to buy Apples at their exorbitant price point.

    And cheap doesn’t have to mean bad. We each purchased refurbished Dell laptops, Windows 7, 2GB RAM, minimum 75 GB hard drives, CD/DVD burners, wifi and wired networking, and physical system disks for well under $250! Those laptops hum along very nicely, thank you. What part,/i> of an Apple would we have been able to afford for that little money?

  7. cpusrvc

    I also agree that many problems lies outside of Windows. I’ve done both hardware and software engineering in my lifetime, and I can’t even imagine how they keep Windows running as well as it does. They have to rely on mfg’s driver quality (many stopped paying MS anymore for driver certification), OEM customizations (thankfully, there are few), accommodate legacy apps that should have been retired long ago, adjust to apps that take shortcuts doing things for which the OS was not designed, and make the OS smart enough to make up for the ignorant users.

    That doesn’t leave MS blameless. They have had poor coding that has led to so many browser exploits (as have others, such as the old buffer overflow exploit), IE incompatibility with industry standards, and much more.

  8. kevbo

    “And Microsoft’s arrogance doesn’t help.” This last sentence sums it up perfectly. They have become too big for their britches and are losing touch with the changing market. Phenomenal success has its downside, and the resulting arrogance is the weak link in Microsoft’s future: Look at all we’ve accomplished, we know best how to it should be done. We’re too good and too big to fail. It’s a classic business model mistake, just like Xerox, IBM, the American automobile industry, ad nausea. Too big to fail? There is no such thing, in spite of what our government would have us believe. As the alternatives grow, and Microsoft points fingers instead of correcting their mistakes, their future becomes bleaker.

    “Microsoft is now focusing on both software and hardware… like Apple” or one could also say, as Google is doing (Chromebook or Nexus anyone?) In Microsoft’s case, its too little, too late, and too much of the same old crap they’ve been dishing out for the past 15 years. (And way too expensive). Talk to the butt, Microsoft, as I move on.

  9. chuck

    [@Kelltic] Well put.
    Oh yeah,must bee my modest $800 notebook that’s the problem.Damn that crappy Sanybridge and only 8 Gigs of Ram,WTF!!
    There’s an old saying,that still holds true – “What Intel giveth,Microsoft taketh away”.
    Most people would be amazed to see how well windows will run when you remove OVER FORTY needless blood sucking processes from its greedy clutches.
    Now,about all that red in my event/error log-Windows is telling me I’m doomed and my PC shouldn’t even be running.I’m telling Windows,WRONG!! See how well you run now with all the useless crap disabled.
    This is simply BAD CODE!!
    Remember the old slogan “Yeah,we’ve got an app for that”?
    Windows should be “Yeah,we’ve got a svchost for that”
    And as if over-charging (like Apple) for hardware because it will have the MS seal of approval,or their name on it will fix everything…..

  10. AFPhy6

    I just went to a dual boot system on this laptop. Linux works just fine, and it is much faster for nearly all I do. I suspect strongly that I am likely to own very few MS or Apple devices in the future.

  11. Kelltic

    So, what Microsoft is saying is that their customers are too stupid to understand the difference between their hardware and software. Now that just Ps me off. BS, MS.

    Microsoft takes all the flak because they are the big guys who run all the computers. They are furlongs ahead of their closest competition (software-wise). What folks are currently mad about is that they aren’t listening to their customers. We are used to – and want – customization – oh yeah – and WINDOWS that size and move around easily. But – for reasons I do not understand, they are moving away from the very things that made them Number 1. – - “No, no. that’s not what you want folks. You want Metro, a Windows Store, and our newest set of Limitations (’cause you’re too stupid to make your own decisions) and besides, we want you to do it our way.”

    MS seems more and more determined to drive me to Apple. I never thought that could happen. :(

  12. AT

    And OEMs are the reason why Windows 8 sucks so badly.

    A friend needed my advice on a few computers for his office. I told him to get Windows 7 machines because there is no way I can help him if he gets Windows 8.