Monday, March 23, 2009

I hate Microsoft (but I kinda like its ad campaigns)

I encountered this pure, shameless propaganda for a new Microsoft product funny commercial over at Talent imitates, genius steals.

The blog's author, Faris Yakob, does a fantastic job of zeroing right in on what's going on with this commercial. As he explains, "The cool thing about being this huge gray corporation is that every time you don't act like it, it's awesome."

It's true: If a company makes awesome commercials, we'll overlook or forget that, for example, Microsoft's abysmal environmental record secured its position at the second from the bottom in Greenpeace's Greener Electronics Guide.

Microsoft appears to be banking on the "coolness" strategy to make us forget their unofficial corporate mantra: Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. And, in fact, to forget the host of criticisms leveled at Microsoft for unethical, unfair, or even outright criminal business practices.

In a previous post, I outed myself as a fan of the Open Source Software (OSS) movement, a movement that appeals to my secret libertarian streak. The open source movement also happens to make neat commercial campaigns.

Now, here's the issue that the OSS movement has yet to overcome: I am fully convinced, yet I continue to use Microsoft products in my daily life. It's easier, after all, than figuring out the details of installing, say, Linux on my laptop. It's easier to use Microsoft Word for my word processing needs, even though OpenOffice, as its homepage explains,

is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

Easy, compatible, open source, free. Yet I'm not using it. The dangerous entropy of apathy, my friends, is the issue that the OSS movement has yet to overcome.


faris said...


i also love open source. i too don't use linux.

but i use the web. which runs on apache and linux ;)

KahWee said...

Hi Jenna, thanks for visiting my blog. I saw that green guide and see Microsoft ranking really low. Then I saw the criteria they used to rate the companies. It emphasizes on recycling of products and using non-hazardous materials for products. Why is Microsoft, mainly a software company, in the comparison with other hardware companies? They only have Xbox and Zune I think. There's nothing not green about software in general. Just my two cents.


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