Light at tunnels end
The light at the end of the tunnel. One of the big problems with recovering an image, as Louis Gerstner found when he took over IBM, is that you first need to build trust before you can communicate improvement. As one of his first acts, Gerstner put in place a world-class corporate marketing organization and created the image of the firm he wanted to build. Even though he never actually completed his corrective actions, the image was strong enough, coupled with the improvements that were made to the IBM corporation itself, to restore much of what had been known as Big Blue.
Microsoft, which is still run by its founders, is taking the slower path of actually trying to fix the company before addressing the image issue. While this will take longer, the end result should be a stronger foundation for long-term growth. Because this kind of thing takes a lot of time, we probably wont know for sure for a number of years, but if you like function over form, this should be good news.
Product security is improving. Certainly you have already witnessed Microsofts focus on security. This week, Forrester Research is expected to release a well-researched, comprehensive reportone that wasnt funded by Microsoftthat shows Microsoft products are, with regard to security, on par with Red Hat Linux, and that Red Hat Linux is the most secure of the Linux distributions. This would suggest that Microsoft has been able to materially improve its platforms. This report will likely not be believed until Microsoft addresses its image problem, although it does in fact document solid improvement at a product level.
This study was done before the release of Windows XP SP2, which is targeted directly at the security problem. Following products and variants should improve on this. Regardless of whether you believe the studyand you should, of course, acquire it and judge for yourselfthe fact that the study exists shows improvement, and early reviews of SP2 have shown that it sharply improves on the existing platform.
Next page: Advocacy improves.