Apple and Google have what Microsoft lacks, confidence.
With the whole turnaround of the Xbox One DRM policy, turning the potential Xbox 720 into the Xbox 540 as well as Windows 8 backtracking on its initial proposals. It just goes to show the stark contrast between the three companies.
Apple and Google has confidence in the truck load. They have confidence in themselves and in the products they are creating.
Apple have given us the iPod, iPad, iTunes, Macbook and many other products that not only define their specific genre, they are defining a generation. The confidence in Jony Ive and Steve Jobs is apparent in their designs and their presentations. As a person who follows technology, it wasn't until Steve Jobs came along that watching a presentation on a future tech product became the norm. He had so much confidence in his products that he wanted everyone to know who he was and what his company was doing. Maybe i'm too young but I don't remember a single non-technologically minded person waiting for a tech launch of a product before Steve Jobs popularized it.
This confidence stems from the top and resonates through his employee and spills over into their products.
Google has confidence in their future products. From Google now, Google Glass and even self-driving cars. Google has the confidence to jump into any market they see can be improved upon (I mean, a search company proposing a self-driving car!) and even inventing their own categories. They seem to be centering towards more of a central vision and their confidence can be clearly seen. They have an idea and implement it well.
Microsoft on the other hand lack confidence. They seem to be wavering in their vision and their products. No doubt, the Xbox One was thought about, deliberated and picked apart from inception to reveal at E3 by their developers, managers and people who market the product. This section under the Microsoft umbrella is worth $1 billion dollars at least, so i'm in no doubt they have put a few very intelligent people to come up with their vision of the future.
When they announced the Xbox One, I was happy that Microsoft have gotten their confidence back. No longer were they following the pack, or doing what was 'expected' of them. They were setting the trend and dictating where the future was going to be. They were being the innovators, while the PS4 was a mere graphical upgrade of their old system.
Then the backlash happened, and Microsoft, without the confidence in their own product, changed their mind and took out everything which had made their product forward thinking. And with the change came back my initial fear about the company, their confidence is no where near as high as Apple or Google. This lack of confidence stems from their company but also spills into their products and into the minds of people viewing their products, which is why you get 'unbiased' journalism with a negative outlook on Microsoft because they lack a clear voice and self-confidence.
People are coming here to criticize The Verge and their negative journalism towards the Xbox, but unfortunately their negative views have been justified. Not because Microsoft has reversed their ideas, but because Microsoft lacked the vision and confidence that Apple or Google would have towards their own products, spreading doubt about a very important and expensive future product. This lack of confidence in their own product spread into the journalists thoughts and ultimately Microsoft killed their own product. Had they had the confidence, they could have done a sit-down with Josh Topolsky, or come onto On The Verge or done a piece on Jimmy Fallon/Leterman/Today show and explained their product benefits. That would have been easier to do than reverse their whole idea behind the Xbox. The negative views on the product obviously echo and resonate somewhat with Microsoft otherwise this reversal wouldn't have happened. If Microsoft had no doubt in their mind that their initial idea for the Xbox One was the best thing to do, the reversal would never had happened.
Microsoft need to alter how they perceive themselves before everyone else (journalists included) can alter their perception of them. They need to come out and talk up themselves, pointing out the draconian ways of Playstation's *obvious* graphical upgrade and alluding to Xbox's unconventional but forward thinking Cloud based system and how it will benefit the consumer.
But, don't think that I am not putting some of the blame on journalism though, as it is clear they had a hand in how consumers viewed these products.
Just a few quotes from articles here on the Verge (I added the bold for emphasis):-
If a quick poll around the Verge newsroom is any indication, things are looking up for Sony. The PlayStation 4, while perhaps a more conventional product, appears to beat the Xbox One in just about every area that counts.
Now Microsoft is the outlier, imposing an unusual and draconian policy with little to no consumer benefit. Sony has somehow emerged with a huge PR win by letting the PS4 do something that game consoles have done since the dawn of time.
Which made today's abrupt about-face all the more surprising....But in reality, Microsoft may have listened a little too hard. Its policy changes are drastic, and they bring a couple of problematic consequences. If you buy a game on a disc, you'll always have to have the disc to play the game, and the Xbox's family sharing plan that would have allowed up to 10 people to share a game library is now pretty much defunct. Fast switching between games is also dead on arrival, unless you've downloaded massive digital titles to the console's hard drive.
Whitten talked constantly about giving users "choices," but in doing so Microsoft has brought its futuristic vision crashing back to the present.
I'm not here to bash The Verges journalism, but you can't say that Microsoft had outdated, draconian policies one day then the nest day be surprised that they have taken those same policies away. The Verge praised the PS4 for being exactly like the PS3 but had not praised the Xbox One trying to be something different. Then was surprised when they change everything back.
I'm just trying to say that The Verge's journalism is a reflection of Microsoft, and any negativity towards Microsoft is only due to their own lack of confidence and not sticking with their own ideals.
What really irks me is that Microsoft has a lot of people who are highly intelligent and very well paid to do the wonderful jobs that they do. Part of their jobs is to envision the future. The Xbox One is a 10 year view of the future for Microsoft. A view spanning 2014 to 2024.
Some people state that the customer spoke out about the Xbox, but unfortunately the customer do not have Microsoft's vision in mind, but their own. The customer isn't going to look at the Xbox as a 10 year plan into the future, they only see a few months into the future (release date).
Microsoft have obviously put a lot of time and effort into their vision and plan for the future as upgrading their console is a lot harder to do that changing Windows Phone (for example).
Their vision was digital and disk-less at the heart, with the All-In-One concept being high up their agenda. Implementing this vision is obviously a difficult thing to do, but from where I was sitting they had such a good chance of it coming together. The doubters and naysayers are going to be there, irrespective of whatever you do. But all the effort, time and intelligence they put into envisioning that idea in the first place is now out of the window.
But hopefully they have all the pieces in place so they can upgrade their consoles to be what they envisioned in the first place.