The Trouble With Microsoft, in One Angry Email

A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 13 2014 7:08 PM

The Trouble With Microsoft, in One Angry Email

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New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Photo by Brian Smale/Microsoft via Getty Images

Farhad Manjoo has a new job at the New York Times and for his debut column he fired off something like the opposite of a Slatepitch. And in doing so, he revealed exactly how steep a hill Microsoft's new CEO has to climb. Not that Manjoo actually said anything about Microsoft. It was all in what he didn't say. Manjoo's thesis is that people should buy Apple's hardware products but use Google's services and buy digital goods from Amazon's store.

In other words, even as everyone tries to offer the whole platform stack, it's still true that companies are better at some things that others. Amazon has the optimal retail experience, Google has the best server-side applications, and Apple builds the best stuff.

So reading between the lines a bit, where does that leave Microsoft? Interestingly, Microsoft's head of communications, Frank Shaw, chose to read between the lines and then call attention to Manjoo's anti-Microsoft conclusion by writing an angry letter to Business Insider.

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But even though Shaw succeeds in drawing attention to the subtextual slam on Microsoft, he doesn't manage to actually rebut Manjoo. Instead he offers the point that just because something is better today doesn't mean it will be better tomorrow. And that's true. Microsoft could make something way better in the future. But for now, the fact remains that an iPad is better than a Surface.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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