Microsoft Calls Windows 8 Criticism 'Extreme'

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft's communications chief has described criticism of Microsoft as "a trend to the extreme." The comments appear to have been made in response to articles in two high-profile publications.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft's vice president of corporate communications, has written a blog post in which he takes issue with the way people criticize people and products in an online setting.

"In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme -- where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis," Shaw said.

"In this world where page views are currency, heat is often more valued than light. Stark black-and-white caricatures are sometimes more valued than shades-of-gray reality." (Source:

Shaw then specifically refers to reports this week from the Financial Times (FT) and The Economist, both leading business publications. The FT report suggests Microsoft is preparing to make significant changes to Windows 8 in a forthcoming update.

It draws parallels with the New Coke scenario, when Coca-Cola altered the taste of the drink only to revert to the original recipe after poor consumer reviews. (Source:

Microsoft Accused of Corporate Waffle

The Economist drew attention to what it called Microsoft's "corporate waffle". It suggested that when a Microsoft representative said Windows 8's "learning curve is definitely real," a more accurate comment would be "customers are tearing out their hair and scattering it on the keyboard." (Source:

In response, Shaw suggests such positions are extreme and that people should "consider the center. In the center, selling 100 million copies of a product is a good thing. In the center, listening to feedback and improving a product is a good thing."

It's worth noting that Shaw specifically refers to selling 100 million copies. So far Microsoft has mainly referred to selling 100 million licenses, with some analysts questioning how many of these are for pre-installed systems on computers that haven't yet been sold to the public.

Microsoft Praised For Making Windows 8 Changes

It's also worth noting that The Economist praises Microsoft for having the courage to fix problems with Windows 8 rather than stubbornly insist everything is fine.

Overall, Shaw's rant is a little surprising. The articles in question are far more even-handed and restrained than many others on the subject of Windows 8.

One explanation may be that investors and financial analysts don't pay much attention to the general press, but are alerted by reports in major publications like the Financial Times and The Economist.

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