Microsoft COO Kevin Turner is known for giving ebullient speeches at Microsoft partner conferences, but this year's edition was even more feisty than usual.
Turner made light of the situation Apple is facing with the iPhone 4's antenna problems by comparing it to Windows Vista. “One of the things I want to make sure you know today is that you’re going to be able to use a Windows Phone 7 and not have to worry about how you’re holding it to make a phone call,” Turner told attendees of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C.
This sort of hyperbole is common at these events, but Bob Nitrio, CEO of Ranvest Associates, an Orangevale, Calif.-based technology consultant, sees some validity to Turner's comments. Although the iPhone 4 has been selling well, it has been plagued by problems that appear to have been overlooked in Apple's rush to get it to market. The same can also be said of Vista, he said.
“Whenever you rush something to market without proper testing by real-world users, you run the risk of delivering a flawed product," Nitrio said. "Vista was seriously flawed, and the iPhone 4 certainly has had its problems.”
Daniel Duffy, CEO of Valley Network Solutions, a solution provider in Fresno, Calif., said although Apple needs a reality check, Turner should have still taken the high road.
“I don’t think you should build your business by taking potshots at your competition,” he said. “That said, Apple should have -- and still should do -- a product recall. Jobs can’t continue this doublespeak of saying ‘we don’t have a problem, but here’s a free case if you do have a problem.’”
Andrew Brust, chief of new technology for twentysix New York, a Microsoft partner in New York City, says the iPhone 4 and Vista issues offer a glimpse into not only the products’ flaws, but also how each company has handled the ensuing fallout. “In both cases, we get to view how a dominant player handles the flaws, and how sensitive or insensitive it is to press and customer complaints,” he said.
Microsoft is gearing up to release Windows Phone 7, which is due in time for the holiday season. The OS may be Microsoft's last chance to catch up in the red hot mobile space, where it has fallen way behind the competition.
Nitrio would like to see Microsoft hold off on the trash talk until it has a viable mobile offering to rival iOS and Android.
“If I were Microsoft, I’d keep a low profile until and unless I could deliver a killer competitor to the Android and iPhone platforms,” Nitrio said. “And if I was Apple, I’d be eating an ample slice of humble pie, speak to my customers honestly about it and earn back the goodwill that it is losing over their handling of this mess.
“But that might be expecting way too much -- from either party.”