Microsoft's Shaw Strikes Back at New Coke Comparison

Earlier this week, Richard Doherty, an analyst at tech research firm Envisioneering, compared Windows 8 to The Coca-Cola Company's failed attempt to alter its base flagship product with a new, sweeter formula called New Coke back in April 1985. The consumer reaction was so negative that the company reintroduced the old formula as a separate Coca-Cola Classic product less than three months later. Windows 8, it seems, may be suffering a similar fate.

"This is like New Coke, going on for seven months – only Coke listened better," he said.

Now Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft, is striking back at all the Windows 8 critics who have taken to the recent New Coke comparison. He said we live in a world where everyone is a publisher, and those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis. Page views are currency and heat is often more valuable than light.

"In the center, selling 100 million copies of a product is a good thing," he states. "In the center, listening to feedback and improving a product is a good thing. Heck, there was even a time when acknowledging that you were listening to feedback and acting on it was considered a good thing."

"Windows 8 is a good product, and it’s getting better every day," he continues. "Unlike a can of soda, a computer operating system offers different experiences to different customers to meet different needs, while still moving the entire industry toward an exciting future of touch, mobility, and seamless, cross-device experiences."

He goes on to talk about how Microsoft will improve Windows 8 as it does with all its products. There will be people who agree with what Microsoft does, and those who don't. "So perhaps this week’s lesson is look less to the edges and more to the center," he concludes. "There’s more light there."

The idea behind the New Coke comparison is understandable: if it's not broke, don't fix it. The Coca-Cola Company changed its formula to match the sweeter-tasting Pepsi-Cola. Microsoft has altered Windows to battle Apple and Google. In both cases, consumer feedback hasn't been entirely positive. But with Windows 8, the platform will evolve to meet consumer demand. It's part of a bigger picture that spans multiple devices. This feat cannot be easily accomplished in a matter of months.

Shaw is correct: Windows 8 is a great product. Sure, there are certain features like the Start button/menu that should be returned for the desktop user. The overall change may have been too much too quick. But that's irrelevant now. Unlike New Coke, Windows 8 is here to stay, and Microsoft is intent on making it the best multi-device platform yet. As Shaw's blog points out, Microsoft is indeed listening.

  • devotiecon
    "Shaw is correct: Windows 8 is a great product."
    I stopped reading there.
  • twelve25
    It's exactly like New Coke. New Coke wasn't a foul tasting Cola, it just wasn't Coca-Cola. Lot's of people even liked the New Coke, maybe some even better than Classic Coke.
    Windows 8 is fine and you can get along well enough in it, but it isn't Windows as we all knew it. Some people like it, those with touch screen probably like it most, but it's not got enough classic windows that the 500 million windows users worldwide were expecting.
  • beoza
    "Shaw is correct: Windows 8 is a great product." On a Tablet I would agree.
  • Aoyagi
    And here is a little different point of view about what Shaw said:

    Edit: It's an actual point of view, not just praise and marketing babbling. Tom, I'm disappoint.

    Edit: damn, wrong link, fixed that
  • jack1982
    People who tell me I'm wrong if I don't like their product just make me dislike it even more.
  • redyellowblueblast
    - Microsoft just needs to learn to swallow their pride and admit they were wrong about Windows 8. I'm still not sure what made them think Windows 8 was a good idea to begin with. They had a good thing going with Windows 7. Why did they feel like they needed to wreck it?
  • Aoyagi
    edit: gah, refresh-post again. Sorry...
  • mpdugas
    After I read all of the negative backlash about this new version of Windows, I was very reluctant to even try it, I admit.
    I'm well over 65, so you'd think I'd most likely be resistant to new ideas, but Windows 8 is really, really good.
    Windows 8 has turned out to be one of the most delightful PC operating systems that I have ever used, going all the way back to my early experiences with DOS 2.11.
    There is nothing that any previous version of Windows has done that Windows 8 cannot do, at least for the tasks that I use it for. There is much that it does that nothing else can, as well.
    Instead of listening to others, I'd suggest that someone who is considering it to give it a try for themselves.
    Windows 8 is really good.
  • everygamer
    Does anyone who comments actually use the product, I've been using Windows 8 since it was RTM and then since it was released. Windows 8 is Windows 7 with a different start button. The desktop experience is the same as it has been in the past, standard non-metro applications work as they always have. In fact I don't use any metro applications, all I do is use Windows 8 like I used Windows 7, or Windows XP, or Windows ME or Windows 95, the only difference now is that when I don't have an application pin'ed to my task bar, I put my mouse in the top right of the screen and then type the first 2-3 characters of the applications name I want and hit enter and it pops up. That takes less time than drilling through the old start button menu, so in my mind time saved and applications work the same ... win win. Other than the start button, Windows 8 is no different from Windows 7 for performance and stability.
  • killerclick
    To be fair, Windows 8 is a great product if you never have to look at Metro and you have a Start Menu instead of a Start Screen. The thing that concerns me is that Microsoft might be fine with losing 40% of desktop market share if they could gain 20% of mobile/tablet. They want people who buy apps and new devices every 6 months, not people who buy the discounted OS via whoever made their laptop.