Dell executive Jeffrey Clarke has reportedly revealed that he urged Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to avoid using the Windows brand for the company's Windows RT operating system. The Australian Financial Review reports that Clarke said the new OS for ARM-based tablets should be called something other than Windows, but Ballmer insisted the brand was too important.
Considering Dell's comic affinity for confusing branding, the fact that Clarke spoke with Steve Ballmer on the topic speaks volumes.
The entire Microsoft ecosystem is mired with baffling branding, compounded by Microsoft's seeming inability to make any semblance of a firm decision regarding software mechanics, branding, and hardware. The lingering nature of the Windows brand is resounding evidence of a company too fearful to truly disrupt the status quo.
For all of the colored squares and angular backdrops, Windows 8 and RT continue to be plagued by an extraordinary lack of foresight and self-control from within Microsoft. Considering the operating system no longer relies upon a windowed UI, the Windows moniker clearly remains only to coax consumers into a purchase.
Not only is this lazy, but it betrays a deep-seated lack of confidence within Microsoft. Steve Ballmer is evidently fearful of launching a new OS brand for fear of sacrificing customers — a fact which offers a scathing indictment of the affability, purpose, and longevity of Windows.
Consumers thrive upon confidence — a quality which is unquestionably bereft from Microsoft's branding and marketing rhetoric. As Mr. Warren wrote ten days ago, it's simply time for the WIndows brand to be retired. Without getting in front of that inevitable narrative, Microsoft will continue to castrate and embarrass itself in front of its consumer base.