Microsoft's Mid-Life Crisis, a.k.a. Steve Ballmer

By Derek Hardman Sep 29th, 2008
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It's easy to take for granted the level of strategy, brand development and marketing that went into producing the success of Macintosh, but it is another to neglect the brass-tacks, brick-and-mortar engineering and production that made the brand development and marketing take hold in the first place.

Someone should explain this to Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer.



Yes, Microsoft is now engaged in a manic two-front ad campaign that features baby boomer extraordinaires Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, uh, taking several minutes of your mortality and another spot that features a series of anthropomorphized computers that attempts to remove the white, middle-aged, "boring" donkey-tail that Mac has so successfully pinned to it.
However, despite these presumably astronomically expensive attempts to say, "Hey, we can do fun and interesting things, too, and, you know, some people even say we have a good sense of humor," Microsoft has done little to apply this message to its machinery.

Ballmer has publically undercut and devalued manufacturers like, cough, Macintosh that combine hardware and software in mobile phones and other products while also stating, in public, that "Microsoft needs to start combining hardware and software to provide better experiences in mobile." Yes, this constitutes doublespeak, which apparently constitutes 6 credit hours of MBA course work.

Granted most CEOs are declawed Confidence Men that, unlike real Confidence Men, are likely to file taxes and, uh, not disappear with millions of dollars to a Costa Rican resort town, it seems Ballmer is doing little to appeal confidently or consistently to current and prospective investors with sound strategy and product design and merely perpetuating the Microsoft mid-life crisis that television owners the country over are bearing the brunt of.

As with any mid-life crisis, Microsoft is going through an awkward, critical identity crisis that will most likely end in hair plugs, a gym membership and a new car. But hopefully, after a few months or so, Microsoft will come to accept itself and get back to making software and hardware products that most people use whether or not they even like them.

While you wait for this Second Coming of Microsoft, check out our software reviews, or you can keep on perusing these blog posts guaranteed to avert mid-life crises:

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Microsoft's Mid-Life Crisis, a.k.a. Steve Ballmer