Yesterday, Microsoft communications chief Frank X. Shaw turned heads when h
e slammed the New York Times personal technology columnist David Pogue.
The Times tweeted out Pogue’s video review of Windows 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. The Times tweet read, “‘Dear New Microsoft C.E.O.’…” Shaw tweeted at the Times, “Dear David Pogue, what a classic Pogue piece. Funny, inaccurate, opinionated in the skewed way only you can bring.”
After we wrote up Shaw’s tweet, he reached out to clarify why he was attacking Pogue on Twitter.
It’s the video review that really irked Shaw. He says Pogue’s written review “didn’t bother me,” although he “didn’t like it.” But the video review was different. In the video review, Pogue is a little bit of an entertainer, so he’s less stringent with what he says.
In the video review for instance, Pogue says “The executive who dreamed [Windows 8] up was fired.” Steven Sinofsky, who led Windows 8 for Microsoft is no longer at the company. There are many reasons he’s not at Microsoft, but it’s not as simple as telling the world he was just fired.
Which is why in Pogue’s written review, he says, “The executive who masterminded Windows 8 abruptly left the company,” which given all the reporting around what happened to Sinofsky is more accurate.
Pogue also says of Windows 8, “consumers hated it,” which Shaw thinks is an inaccurate cheap shot. PC sales declined, but Shaw thinks its foolish to attribute it all to Windows 8. After all, people are buying tablets. Which, again, is why in his written review, Pogue said, “PC sales plunged 14 per cent in the months after Windows 8’s release.”
That is what set off Shaw and led to his (perhaps hasty) tweet. But overall, he has a bigger bone to pick with Pogue. And this is mostly a difference of opinion.
Microsoft is trying to have it both ways with Windows 8. It has a tile based interface for touchscreen computing as well as a traditional desktop environment. To switch between each style, a user just hits a button.
Pogue thinks Microsoft’s attempt to put two systems in one is a huge mistake. He says Microsoft should, “Split them up. Sell tile world for tablets, and the desktop for regular PCs.”
This, of course, is what Apple is doing quite successfully with Macs and iPads.
Shaw says on this point, “We fundamentally disagree with David,” and that the combination of the two OSes is “a value proposition that will be proved over time.”
In Pogue’s review, he suggests it’s confusing and jarring to have two different systems in one computer.
Shaw asks rhetorically, what’s harder: clicking on a button in Windows that switches between a tablet and desktop mode, or closing a laptop, then picking up a tablet, turning it on for certain apps, then closing the tablet and putting it away and grabbing a desktop for a desktop activities? In Microsoft’s opinion, having it all in once device makes more sense than owning two devices.
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