There are many difficulties that come part and parcel when running a large multi-national company. Whereas smaller firms can maintain a tighter focus on their goals and on their press output, international concerns with hundreds of thousands of employees across the globe tend to slip up on occasion, a lesson that Microsoft learned once again recently when Senior Product Manager Tim Carroll opted to air his views on Google Apps, through a number of bizarre metaphors, in what became an extended non-sequiteur of a blog post.
Carroll initially expresses concern for his teenage son, who is something of a rebel. Instead of taking life seriously, his said son wants to travel cross-country in a VW camper van. If this wasn’t bad enough, his son opted to learn American Sign Language instead of Spanish, being as it was easier. Worst of all however, it turns out that his son uses Google Apps at school for productivity purposes, as indeed does the rest of the school.
Fearing the revelation of any more unsavory habits, he takes his son to the side and talks about the wilderness. If one was camping, he asks,
“Would you take a fork and a spoon and a corkscrew out to the woods with you, or would you take a Swiss Army knife? You want some partial collection of random components that can only be held together with special rubber bands and neon blue baling wire you have to pay extra for? Or you want one complete assembly of high-grade tools that’re built to work in the harshest conditions and help you tackle whatever you need to do?”
It is obvious, he asserts, that if Bear Grylls and the like didn’t have a Swiss army knife in the countryside, they would surely perish within record time. As such, using Google Apps at school and for his work as a whole, he would simply fail, whereas Office 365 and the like could turn him into something of a productivity superstar. Here, thankfully, he opts to end his poorly structured and worded piece.
What is ultimately so jarring about this piece is not so much its content, but the mere fact that it exists at all. With the arrival of Satya Nadella at Microsoft earlier in the year, we were supposed to see the end of the old, abrasive Microsoft, with its ‘Scroogled’ campaign among others. This withering, caustic approach was to be abandoned for a new way of doing things, which emphasised the positive aspects of Microsoft’s products instead of merely trashing its rivals.
To be fair on Redmond, the blog was taken down within a day of being posted (though being that the internet is the internet, a cached version can be assessed in all of its befuddled glory here). It is clear that, though the new approach of Nadella is clearly the MO for Microsoft as a whole, being as the company is so large, there are still pockets of resistance left, loyal to the old ways and perhaps unwilling to change.
Would you like to see the old Microsoft make a return? Let us know in the comments below.Further reading: Microsoft