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Comment on "Follow-Up to "Secret Ingredient""
by Blain — Sep 06
I'm honored! Mentioned, even!

The key difference, Anna is not that the people are there. Microsoft is stuffed to the gills with brilliant and creative people. And they use the talents of Kare et al. The difference is that they're not part of the leadership, either explicitly or defacto. Why Win3.1 is so different from System 1.0? I'd wager it was because Kare was part of the Macintosh team, and an influence. But most likely, she was only a paid consultant for Microsoft.

You've seen the Microsoft iPod video? That actually was made by MS's own branding/packaging team, a self-parody, in frustration at how they cannot do what they want, and bring simplicity and ease to the boxes.

As MJ pointed out, look at Scoble to see it in action at the macroscopic group level. Look at Mini-Microsoft to see it in action in the trenches. There is vision at Microsoft. Only, it's being ignored.

Apple had this problem during the dark days of the mid 90s. Internal battles, leadership by marketing and not by the whole, chaos and confusion, these are the signs of what Apple's secret ingredient removed. Remember that Ive joined in 92. So he was around during the days of the PowerMac 4400.

I do have to agree about the trouble of supporting hardware. I remember Apple showing off NextStep when they released the PowerMac 9600, and the sound card was not working with their implementation of Quicktime, much to their frustration. Two engineers with 30 years experience between them, both expressing relief that they'd be designing for a known system soon.

I do have to nod to Chris, in that I hesitated when putting Tevanian in the list. I'm already aware of his rep from Dareflaming Fireball, and being one from the classic mac side, I still miss some niceties of 8.6 that were pooh-poohed on. But being disagreeable does not make one uncreative, as Jobs is no saint himself at times.

One final note, is that Microsoft does have one major competitor, one that might be its undoing: Microsoft from the past. I'm out of time to look for it, but Jobs does often show the market share of MacOSX, in terms of how many are using 10.4 as opposed to 10.3 as opposed to 10.2. Especially given how recent even the older releases is, this is very telling, when the conversion is quite significant. Then look at browser stats, and you'll see that even as recent as Jan 2004, Win2K + Win98 had a greater market share than XP.
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