Microsoft ran a two-page-spread yesterday in the Wall Street Journal as part of its big new advertising campaign. In my view, consumers would be better off if MS spent money on developing better products than advertising. 

The ad offers two tag lines: “Windows vs Walls” and “Life without Walls”. In my experience, MS products are a huge drain on my personal productivity. Some examples and expansion:

  • Windows XP locks up entirely with some regularity so that my screen freezes and I have to hit the power button to re-boot
  • Outlook 2003 crashes regularly on my current PC; Word crashed regularly on my prior PC
  • Feature sets of the Office suite have barely improved in a decade
  • I often have to wait for my PC to perform an action, for example, switching from Outlook to OneNote (I have 2 gig of RAM and am not anywhere near using all of it)
  • No way would I buy a PDA with Windows Mobile. A friend has one and I find the menus un-intuitive and that too many clicks are required for common tasks
  • I have avoided MS Vista because of the many bad reviews I have read
  • I have avoided Office 2007 because reviews suggest that for experienced users, it is more pain than benefit and looking over the shoulder of users with it, I have to concur

So, in my experience, Windows are Walls that detract from my personal productivity. At least for this user, no amount of MS advertising about airy goals and connecting one billion users can make up for unfixed bugs and what seems a complete absence of innovation in the consumer market for PCs and notebook computers.

[I know that large law firms are excited about SharePoint and that does seem to be a good product. But in the consumer market, the last new product I can remember from MS is OneNote, and that came out several years ago.]