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Microsoft Ads I'd Like To See

Lately, Microsoft has been trying to bolster Vista sales by pulling tricks such as presenting Vista as a mythical new OS. There's a big difference between an abstract feature demonstrated by an expert and that same feature used in real life at home or work. Experienced users won't be suckered by that approach, which is why I'd like to see Microsoft make an entirely different pitch.
Lately, Microsoft has been trying to bolster Vista sales by pulling tricks such as presenting Vista as a mythical new OS. There's a big difference between an abstract feature demonstrated by an expert and that same feature used in real life at home or work. Experienced users won't be suckered by that approach, which is why I'd like to see Microsoft make an entirely different pitch.Let's look back to the original meaning of the PC acronym: Personal Computer. The $3,000 price of the IBM PC (in valuable 1981 dollars) was not a great bargain compared with what we pay today, but consider the alternatives. Computers were the domain of mainframe and minicomputer experts. CPU cycles were often guarded by IT departments as if they were made of precious metal -- and they tended to cost as much. The PC gave average businesses and users access to computers in ways that they never had before, at a cost that was still lower than dealing with the big-iron monopolies.

The Internet revolution has pulled computing resources back into the cloud. Users and businesses may think they own what they do on their PC, but their computing lifeline is really held by their Web hosting company, Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Twitter, or wherever they post comments on a blog. On the Internet, you don't really own the space for your data; you rent it. That data may disappear or be stolen without you even knowing it.

With PCs and PC applications, you control what happens. Your data can be stored locally, even encrypted if you so desire. You decide when the software is updated and who has access to the data. If someone wants one of your documents, they have no choice but to ask you for it, because it's on your computer.

Microsoft's focus should be to make sure that users have control of what happens on their PCs. Windows Defender is a clear example of that philosophy. Spyware takes control away from users, so it doesn't belong. Yet I would argue that Digital Rights Management (DRM) also is an example of something that takes control away from users. That's especially true when DRM prevents users from making backups of content they have purchased. Microsoft needs to advocate for users in those cases and make sure that their Windows customers aren't hamstrung by someone else's priorities.

If Microsoft would just emphasize the benefits of Windows and put in features that really helped users, rather than favoring Microsoft and their partners, users would remember why the personal computer was so popular in the first place. Perhaps the campaign could go something like this:

"Microsoft Windows: It's your computer."