There are some predictable and irritatingly limp articles out there in the major press this week as Microsoft preps for this Thursday’s initial rollout of Windows Vista. Of the two major pieces — BusinessWeek’s cover, and a WSJ feature — the better is the WSJ version, but there isn’t much to choose among them.
To deal with the worse of the two first, BusinessWeek continues its current quest for pop culture currency by treating the story as being about J. Allard, his thrill-seeking behavior, and his youthful … oh, screw it. You know the plot by now: Young guy, ossified company — fill in the blanks. The trouble is that most of the accomplishments attached to Allard are either early or uncertain, so it’s hard to take BusinessWeek at all seriously. Much more fun, frankly, is reading the comments attached to the BusinessWeek piece, where anonymous and puffy up-with-Microsoft sorts take on more jaded sorts who want their money/time from BusinessWeek for another senseless article.
The WSJ piece is a little better. While it is unnecessarily easy on Steve Ballmer, it does point out that Microsoft is busily bifurcating over its Web/binary strategy, with the former group coalescing under Ray Ozzie, and the latter group under Steven Sinofsky. This is, of course, very similar to the origins of the religious schism that tore up the company during Internet 1.0, so, as the WSJ implies rather than says straight out, we look like we’re wandering down a similar path.