Microsoft’s Problem? It’s Not Technology (Premium)

It just keeps happening. Reading the paper this morning, I saw a story about a technology in which Microsoft is deeply invested. And yet, it's like Microsoft doesn't even exist.

For those who follow Microsoft, this type of thing is an ongoing frustration. But it was at least semi-understandable for consumer services. For example, Microsoft Groove was routinely ignored in any roundup of music subscription services over the past several years. Just as it was ignored by users. A non-virtuous cycle, if you will.

But the article I'm referring to is titled Yale Professors Race Google and IBM to the First Quantum Computer. It appeared in this morning's edition of The New York Times, a news source I find increasingly problematic.

I have a number of issues with this headline and article.

Most obviously, there are actually three technology giants leading the push to quantum computing: The two specifically called out in the headline and Microsoft.

Scanning the article, I see that Microsoft is at least mentioned. Well below the fold, yes, but mentioned. The NYT got a quote from Todd Holmdahl, who oversees Microsoft's quantum computing efforts. And the article does mention Microsoft's big bet on anyons, before noting that other approaches are likely to "bear fruit first".

And that's what The New York Times does with Microsoft. Ignore them, for the most part. Or plant seeds of doubt about them when they do mention them.

But focusing on the quantum computing story, this article isn't even the first I had seen on this topic this week.

In IBM Raises the Bar with a 50-Qubit Quantum Computer, no less than the MIT Technology Review writes that "IBM, Google, Intel, and a San Francisco startup called Rigetti are all currently racing to build useful quantum systems." Microsoft? Not mentioned even once. Not once. In the entire article.

And that's the problem.

Microsoft is not even part of the conversation.

And it basically never is, with the exception of cloud computing, where we are routinely told how far behind AWS that the company is.

Pity poor Microsoft. Ignored by most, an also-ran at best.

So. How do we fix this? The technology isn't the problem: Microsoft makes great products and services, and it has a research and development infrastructure that embarrasses virtually all of its competitors.

No, the problem here is basically perception. So I'd start with communications, Microsoft's Achilles' heel.

It's not an easy fix. And perhaps the best way to understand the problem is to consider how we collectively view the company compared to an obvious competitor that is always in the news, like Apple.

Despite being incorporated within a year of Apple, Microsoft is seen as being stodgy and slow-moving, where Apple is new, fast, and fun. Microsoft is also seen as being reactive, where Apple is supposedly an innovator, though I'd argue that the reverse is true of both, given the evidence. Apple is the one that moves slow...

Gain unlimited access to Premium articles.

With technology shaping our everyday lives, how could we not dig deeper?

Thurrott Premium delivers an honest and thorough perspective about the technologies we use and rely on everyday. Discover deeper content as a Premium member.

Tagged with

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott ยฉ 2024 Thurrott LLC