You know what they say. ‘Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.’ There might be some truth in that regarding Apple co-founder and new Microsoft fanboy, Steve Wozniak.
From Macworld in the UK, comes this Woz observation regarding Microsoft’s recent product flops.
I’ve seen more of the type of innovation from Microsoft and you see something ‘wow.’ They really change things drastically ‘wow’. They aren’t even going in the same direction as everyone else, meaning the iPhone and Android.
We can interpret Woz rather easily in this case. He’s talking about Microsoft innovating by not copying Apple, as opposed to innovating by creating a product or feature set that is actually an improvement or better than Apple.
The former is merely different. The latter is real innovation.
Microsoft’s latest public blunders include the Windows Phone disaster and the Windows RT Surface tablet disaster. Wait. Disaster? Both products are well differentiated from standard iPhone and Android (is there a difference; Android stole so much from Apple) products; smartphones and tablets.
At first view, Windows Phone looks remarkably different than iOS and Android with those clever floating tiles of information and simple gestures to navigate. Different does not mean better. Therefore, it’s not really innovation, is it?
At first view, the Surface tablet with Windows RT looks compelling. It’s not like iPad or Kindle Fire or Nexus tablets. Is it better? Not according to reviewers and users. Instead of being the best of both worlds, PC and tablet, Surface is merely a convoluted mess that fails to deliver a compelling and attractive user experience.
Windows RT is different, but not innovative. Wozniak has been out of the game far too long. His product analytical skills are rusty. His opinions and perspectives on today’s technology are interesting, of course, but he doesn’t bring much to the game of analyzing why and where a product’s positioning becomes useful to a larger number of customers.
This is where Microsoft is failing. Rather than make smart phones and tablets that are truly innovative and an improvement over the status quo, the company resorted to creating merely a different user interface attached to the past.
Wozniak thinks Microsoft may be more innovative than Apple. The iPhone isn’t wide enough. Siri is poo-poo. Apple is arrogant. Truly, the Woz speaks his mind and doesn’t sugar coat his opinions. I simply expect more substance from one of the founding fathers of the personal computing revolution.