Those who know me know that my attitude towards Microsoft is somewhere in the range between hatred and total lack of respect. They have so many presumably-talented folks working there, that it’s hard to reconcile their results with their capabilities, in many cases. I find myself forced to presume either a bureaucracy that gets in the way of the actual creators there, or nefarious motives (such as deliberately breaking things either to drive sales of the next version, or to hinder competitors). For a perfect example of this, nicely succinct and specific, check out Microsoft’s “implementation” of ODF. Either they really don’t have the basic competence to read a spec, or they’re deliberately doing it wrong, to stymie the growth of anything that might reduce dependence on their products. Either way, it doesn’t make me want to buy their products.
And the attitude it seems to display meshes neatly with their “laptop hunters ads”, which employ a fair bit of bait-n-switch. In the case of those ads, they often dismiss an Apple laptop near the beginning of the ad, and then end up settling on a laptop that, based on the criteria given by the shopper, either is inferior or no cheaper. Frex, the law student passes on the $2000 MacBook Pro, in favor of a $1000 MSWindows laptop that is inferior [or, at best, equivalent] in every measure that the customer purports to care about, to the $1000 MacBook [that we didn’t see in the ad, and the customer may or may not have looked at]. There are definitely cases where you can get everything you want in a laptop for less than the closest Apple equivalent. There are at least some cases where you can get a spec-equivalent laptop for less than the Apple equivalent. Though that’s ignoring issues of industrial design (both aesthetic and functional), as well as the software that runs on them. But, for some people, those things don’t matter—or, at least, can be given up to save a few bucks. So why does MS trump up dishonest comparisons, when honest comparisons that favor their product are out there?