Microsoft Please Innovate, Thank You

Yesterday we saw two new “innovations” come out of Microsoft.  The first was Microsoft Vine.   Vine is an obscure desktop client that has been dubbed “Twitter for Emergencies”.  Stan Schroeder at Mashable puts it best:

Vine’s biggest problem is that it competes with Twitter and Facebook. The fact that it offers a slightly more structured way to communicate might not mean much to the end users; they’re used to getting their emergency news and reports from Twitter, even if it only means simple 140-character messages. And yes, Vine promises robustness (the details on how, exactly, are sketchy), and Twitter has long been notorious for its instability (it’s working much better lately, though). Even if Twitter is down, however, Facebook’s status update can always step in. Is there room for another contender?

Exactly.  Its a cool idea, but Twitter has already evolved into that and Microsoft would be better off making an “emergency” application that works off of the Twitter Architecture than making your own new Twitter that nobody will use.  I don’t see my Grandma twittering, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” anytime soon – and PS she already has something for that and its called LifeAlert.

The second imitation is I believe still in development but yesterday it was announced that they are in talks with Verizon to launch an “iClone”.

From Bloomberg:

Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile-phone company, has held talks with Microsoft Corp. about offering a handset that may include the Zune music-player software, a person familiar with the matter said.

The phone may be introduced next year, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are in the early stages. Verizon is also talking with Apple Inc. about selling a version of the iPhone, potentially giving the carrier access to the best-selling consumer handset, the person said yesterday.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, plans to put the Zune software on mobile phones from various manufacturers and carriers, Andy Lees, senior vice president of the company’s mobile business, said in February. The Redmond, Washington-based company isn’t building a Zune phone itself, he said at the time.

Unless Apple somehow finds a way to get its iPhone out on Verizon’s network, it pains me to say the “iClone” may be mildly perhaps even wildly successful, but ONLY because Verizon has so many customers thirsty for something that resembles an iPhone.  But thats not the point.  Its just another example of Microsoft creating another Windows, a product that people HAVE to buy/use because they’re stuck.

Microsoft desperately needs to innovate.  If not for the money, they should for innovation’s sake.  What’s strange is that people desperately WANT Microsoft to innovate, and get angry when they don’t.   They identify with the technology they use and they are for the most part “stuck” with Microsoft, that they want to at least feel a little Mac when they’re PC.

There is one place where Microsoft dwells that is ripe for the taking and that is the living room.  You have men and boys (and some girls) all over the country with a box of yours that they love.  You are the king of Living Room right now and guess what’s coming over the horizon – IPTV.   Apple TV hasn’t really gained much traction yet – and presumably you bought Silverlight for a reason.  Now go innovate and please don’t fuck it up.


  1. 1 Microsoft’s core competence is negotiating deals, not innovation « Sharing the truth one thread at a time

    […] Microsoft’s core competence is negotiating deals, not innovation April 29, 2009 The company can’t suddenly decide that it wants to innovate and get going: Microsoft desperately needs to innovate.  If not for the money, they should for innovation’s […]

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