The Microsoft perception issue is something that came up in the discussions I had about our communities and role in the community. Here are my quotes and notes on how the few customers I talked to perceive us.
There were a few people that ranted to me about our servicing story. :-) I thought the one perception of how the Windows team earned big kudos for delaying Longhorn to fix XP was particularly interesting. If nothing else we need to be more transparent and upfront about what our plans in the servicing space are because I certainly came away with the idea that, if nothing else, we had failed to set proper expectations.
Maybe it’s because this was a Microsoft sponsored event, but people I talked to didn’t agree with the “evil empire” image. The consensus seemed to be that those days are over for most customers that don’t include Slashdot posters. The bigger image/reputation problem was seen as a lack of focus on innovation.
I missed writing down good chunks of this conversation but it seemed to boil down into two things.
First, we don’t do a good job of highlighting the innovations we do make. There was one customer that talked to me about the Office dinasour ads as a poor attempt to highlight innovations that (and I wish I had a closer quote) made him feel like we were trying to insult people into upgrading. It just comes down to how we spread the message.
Second is that people felt we just weren’t leaders in several areas. Of course the G word came up several times. They challenged us to make google or apple follow us into a new market and then make sure we tell people about it.
There where also comments on how our employee blogging was innovative and has led to a perception change. I tackled those in two previous entries.