Microsoft’s Susan Rice Problem: Who will defend Windows 8?

A few months ago, the Obama administration did something that quite frankly was pretty shameful.

They let word leak that they were considering Susan Rice for the Secretary of State position and then they let her dangle in the wind for weeks as opponents savaged her in the press.

Now this isn’t a political blog and Susan Rice is a real person but I can’t help but compare that example to what Microsoft has done with Windows 8.

They spent 3 years prepping this software and giving us glimpses into this code that was going to revolutionize the way we worked and played.

Ballmer told us it was the riskiest bet (he was right) and Steven Sinofsky did a great job at sharing in detail the thought that went into the development of Windows 8.

In fact, those updates were pretty revolutionary given the scope, scale and size of the software being discussed.

Then, Windows 8 was released to the world and the results were…. well very mixed.

I could quote blog after blog and UI expert after UI expert saying that the Metro UI is counter intuitive.

Head down to your local store and you can see consumers a little reluctant to dig in to this new Operating System because of the different look and feel of it all.

Research data firms like NPD have been quick to say that the PC industry isn’t doing great and Windows 8 has a lot to do with that.

OEM’s like Samsung, ASUS and Acer have been less than enthusiastic about this new Operating System.

Basically everyone (myself included) has had an opinion about Windows 8 but one thing remains baffling – Microsoft’s lack of a response.

I have had a chance to step back and think about this a lot and I have come to believe that radical and large software packages need advocates.

Not low level employees or marketing executives who are trying to do their jobs but big, loud characters.

Eric Schmidt is a large character who effectively defends Google.

Steve Jobs then and Tim Cook now are large Apple advocates.

Larry Ellison is the loudest and largest personality in Silicon Valley and  Oracle’s largest defender.

Jeff Bezos for Amazon, Marc Benioff for Salesforce and on and on…

I believe Steven Sinofsky was that person for Windows 8 but obviously, he’s not there anymore.

I believe that Windows 8 today has no champion or advocate at Microsoft.

There have been so many substantive and harmful barbs thrown at the software and there has been a muted response from Redmond.

Whether it’s a policy choice or just confusion over there, the result is the same – Windows 8 is slowly becoming tainted as a brand name and that my friends is unfortunate.

I have written about how I think some things need to be changed in the OS but I have also been vocal about how this is NOT Vista. I think it’s a vital step in the evolution of Windows and at some point, once perfected, will be accepted as the right direction for Microsoft.

It is however not my job to make that case. It should be Microsoft’s job.

They obviously disagree about bringing the Start Menu back but they don’t have a passionate reason why. We are left to guess that they just don’t want it there.

We are also left to wonder what they think about Pokki and Start8 etc, tons of Start Menu replacements that are popular.

They obviously disagree about booting directly in to the desktop but don’t offer any technical or political explanation why. Just silence.

There hasn’t been a substantial, vocal, consumer facing explanation of what exactly Windows RT is and what it aims to achieve. Just silence.

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