An Open Letter to Microsoft – Part 1: Kill Your Darlings

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By Ronnie Rocket

I have been using Microsoft products since the MS-DOS days. And apart from two odd, but, ahem, interesting ventures with Indy machines from Silicon Graphics and the ‘bomb exploding’ PowerPC’s from Apple (that bomb is even on Wikipedia!), I have been using their OS ever since. Currently, I am researching which Windows 8.1 laptop to get next and which WindowsPhone is a possible replacement for my Google Phone. (I will write about WP in an upcoming blog post).

My first browser experience was with Netscape. They were preloaded in the SGI workstations that we happened to use at my first mover web agency in the nineties. But gradually, we realized that we were seeing something completely different in our browsers than our clients were on their Windows desktops. Our graphic department preferred Apple, so we invested in a handful of PowerPC’s thinking that the dual boot machines would give us the best of both worlds.

As it turned out, this generation of Apple PC’s were the worst they ever made. They kept crashing with the infamous ‘bomb’ graphic on the screen and the whole experience almost made us bankrupt because our work was so often disrupted and many man hours were lost in the turmoil. Thus, it left a negative imprint of the brand inside me that never allowed me the pleasure of their products in the golden age where everybody turned into fans.

Eventually, we settled for a machine park with new Windows boxes for the business and production department and ‘clean’ Apple machines for the graphic department. Everyone seemed to be happy and the ‘us’ against ‘them’ OS war could begin and facilitated many fun arguments by the water cooler. Today, it seems that no one in the creative industries uses Windows anymore. We all know the eye popping photographs of auditoriums packed with MacBooks.

Usually, there is one guy standing out with his ThinkPad or Toshiba laptop. That guy is me. I stuck with Windows. Through thick and thin. I also migrated from Netscape to Explorer when Microsoft suddenly took over the browser market. Netscape was left in the dust and eventually faded away. Some Explorer versions were quite good, but something strange happened. They became really bad and the Explorer became hell on earth for web designers.

Today, most people use either Chrome (because it’s fast), Firefox (because it’s good) or Safari (because it’s already installed on Apple products). Explorer still claims a relatively big market share as well, but it is not because users want it. It is because their IT departments tell them to or because some applications only work on IE or runs better on IE. Recent versions have been decent but the Explorer brand has been tainted too much.

Microsoft should kill the Explorer brand entirely.

Under the new management, they should launch a brand new browser built on four cornerstones. It should be a browser that works on all screens, from smartphone over tablet and laptop to big screen TV’s. It should have an integrated high quality search engine. It should offer state-of-the-art translation services. It should be the fastest on the market.

Microsoft should launch the Bing Browser.

A brand new Bing browser would eliminate all the bad reputation from the Explorer and be a fresh start both brand wise and technologically. Also, it would spotlight the Bing search engine as the excellent alternative to Google that it is (it even offers Bitcoin conversion!) as well as the splendid Bing translation service (that is better than Google Translate with Asian languages). The MS R&D department should hire some smart Russians to make it lightning fast and super secure.

Two controversial add ons could be an adblocker and VPN functionality. As far as I know, they are not illegal. So why shouldn’t Microsoft be able to offer these popular services?

Once the Bing browser is built and ready to launch, they should not call their advertising agency. We do not need television commercials with happy people telling us how wonderful their new product is. That approach does not work anymore. We need real people to tell us that. Microsoft should make the project open source and crowdsource the entire branding process. Engaging an army of bloggers and using crowdbranding can make this idea a huge success.

My next Open Letter to Microsoft – Part 2: How WindowsPhone can be bigger than Android and iPhone…combined!

You can follow me on Google+ here and on Twitter here. And, yes, I am on so.cl, but not fully active yet. (Actually, I would also rebrand so.cl as Bing Social. I will write more about that in – another! – upcoming blog article).

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