It's not all that often that the press sticks up for Microsoft, so I was pleasantly surprised to read this blog post from The Seattle Times' Brier Dudley about how Microsoft is getting the media cold shoulder in recent head-to-head feature releases with its Web nemesis, Google.
Most tech publishers (and, of course, bloggers) were quick to herald the release of a new Google My Maps mash-up feature (the topic is currently at the top of the Google News Sci-Tech channel, and that's a pretty credible buzz check). Dudley notes that in their haste to praise Google's latest release, many publishers failed to mention that Microsoft's Live Maps service released similar customization features just a couple of weeks ago.
I poked around a bit, and found that by and large, Dudley is dead-on in saying that Google is getting all the love here. I'd also note that this CIO Today article notes that both MS and Ask.com recently released such features -- neither Dudley nor respected blogger Om Malik mentioned Ask.com in their commentaries today.
Dudley is often harsh on Microsoft; yesterday he called out the company again for what he (and I, for that matter) consider shady marketing spin in positioning PCs as "Vista Capable" when in fact they'll have trouble running some resource-intensive features, including the Aero Glass interface. So this is not a question of a MS advocate begging for equal time, although Dudley and Malik both have nothing but praise for the Live Maps service.
I'm the first to gripe about Google dominating the tech press. But in this case, when the product release is right in its Web content/advertising gear box (OK, I'll say it -- Web 2.0), the disproportionate press response is not surprising, and fairly reasonable. Google is to search and online content as Microsoft is to operating systems. Google owns a massive blogging network and the world's largest video-sharing service, all of which will drive adoption of those new mapping features in a way that Microsoft is just not in a position to do right now. (Interestingly, the Live Maps feature set does not include video.)
It's kind of like a relatively minor security flaw in Windows getting a ton of press, while bugs in the Mac OS get only niche coverage. It affects more people; it's bigger news.
Microsoft will just have to adjust to the idea that having the best tech isn't necessarily going to get you as much buzz as having a big chunk of the market.
That was an attempt at irony.