Robert has been trashing Microsoft quite a bit lately -- his most recent dig at Zune is somewhat over the top. A response is in order...
Robert: "Many projects there are simply defensive ones. To keep a competitor from getting more inroads into one of its businesses."
Many (perhaps even most) products are born in response to competitive pressures. I would say it's a sign of a company which is not satisfied with the status quo and very much has a 'can do' attitude with a belief they can make a better mousetrap.
Robert: "The problem is that whenever you do something just to defend another business you don’t do it from a position of love. Or a position of strength."
I personally don't believe the concepts of 'defense' and 'love' and 'strength' are mutually exclusive. I believe you can play a defensive position out of love for the company or product. A soccer analogy is a good one here. On a soccer team you have offensive and defensive players. The defensive objective is to stop the other team and move the ball forward to the offense so they can score points. I play soccer, specifically as a defender. I play with every bit as much passion and love of the game as the offensive player. In the case of Zune I think Robert is off base. Everything I've seen and heard is about building a better mousetrap, not protecting another mousetrap. I'd also say there is absolutely nothing wrong with building a better mousetrap AND defending the one you already have -- just like in soccer.
Robert: "I’m totally uninspired. Yawn."
That's probably because you haven't actually sat down for any length of time and played with one of the new Zunes, its software or communities. On this I will say the following: Shame on you, Robert, for jumping on the bashing bandwagon. Maybe next time you should wait and actually use the product before you drag its reputation through the mud. I could be wrong but I *think* you will be singing a different tune once you've had a chance to experience it yourself.
Finally, I'm beginning to think Robert is forgetting there are real people who work at Microsoft. Once upon a time he went from office to office with his video camera and helped to tell the stories of interesting individuals and teams working on neat stuff. Perhaps we haven't changed all that much while your access to the percolation of technology here at Microsoft has and in that vacuum you can only assume a negative end result.
Life is good here at Microsoft (you can't measure everything about a corporation based solely on their current stock price). In many, many ways it's much better than when you were here, Robert. Do try to keep the interpersonal relationships in mind when you are negative or critical of us over here in the collective hive. Perhaps that should go in the manifesto right underneath number 5.