Friday, December 5, 2008

The Goog v MS

I wouldn't have been able to articulate the Google advantage over Microsoft in this way. Indeed, it is a bit of an a-ha, although I had a bit of a sense of it. What I can articulate is this: Google makes my life easier; Microsoft makes my life more difficult.

Perhaps it's generational, but Google products seem to work with the way I naturally expect them to. In the rare instance that this doesn't happen, the learning curve is usually slight. MS, on the other hand, is a massive pain. It's like they don't want you to use their products. There are obstacles thrown at you at almost every step, until you a forced to conform to the confusing user-interaction standards they have designed. Google's designs are smarter, if not just as visually unappealing (hey, neither is Apple). Their UIs are deftly layered. Rather than shove every option available in your face at once, Google gives you what you need to do the basic job the app is designed for. You want more features? They're right there. You just have to expose them.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that I think Google's asymmetrical approach to problem solving and business solutions will soon propel them to the top, leaving MS struggling to keep up. The ability to anticipate what people need, and then be able to make it easy to use, and quickly modify and adapt those products based on user demand is absolutely essential. Too bad MS is still struggling to figure this out. They continue to develop the next "[random cool product] killer" instead of creating the products that every competitor wants to kill. Meanwhile, the only killer products they develop are products their customers want killed.

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