Benjamin Cohen of Channel 4 News in the UK visited Redmond recently and the softies took him on a tour to see the people who are building the future and the places where they're building it. After 2 days with us, Benjamin and the team headed back to the UK to digest what they'd seen. On his blog this week he acknowledged the "extraordinary technology" and "really extraordinary access" they were granted, as well as "the frankness of what people said".
From Cohen's post:
[…]Microsoft are a strange sort of company. Once the name that defined technology, it has in many ways been eclipsed by rivals Apple and Google. Although the company is still extraordinary profitable, investors don't rate its growth potential as highly as rival Apple, partially because of a failure until recently to launch a decent mobile offering. But that started to change with the launch late last year of Windows Phone 7 and the company have also started to make waves, literally, in the world of gesture based technology with the launch of the hugely successful Kinect for X-box.
So Microsoft is fighting back and not just in terms of new products. In the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, they've opened up a prototype 'Microsoft Store' that bear all the hallmarks of the hugely popular 'Apple Stores' right down to the friendly greeters saying 'hi' on your way in. When we visited it, there were more people inside than the Apple store a couple of doors down, probably reflecting the reality, all to often missed by the markets and the media that vastly more people actually use Microsoft products than use Apple. At some point in the day, most of us will either use or be provided a service by someone using a Microsoft powered device.[…]
The piece aired on Channel 4 this week, Cohen and the team distilled 2 days of filming and interviews down in to a balanced report that showed where the softies are and where they're going. Their favorite demo was LightSpace. Surface 2.0 was also a great session with Benjamin's "face plant" moment alongside Panos Panay. On his blog too, Benjamin articulated some of what I now see every day…