While the discussion in this post may be obvious and quite apparent to most of you, it may not be to all. It is important to remember we have new readers everyday who are just escaping the Apple & Google reality distortion fields perpetuated daily by our blatantly biased fangirls “tech media.”
The Instagram non-controversy was what I would call a ‘teachable moment.’ I woke up early Wednesday morning to see a smaller blog breaking the story that Instagram would be released later that day for windows phone. Of course, as we have now come to expect, as usual, the larger tech sites did not credit the site when they reported on the story themselves. I then went on to read the Xbox reviews that had finally come out. It was an exercise in torture, reading poorly written, and even more poorly thought out reviews lacking a modicum of intellectual thought. The Verge even had the tenacity to claim that the PS4’s UI “immediately made sense” while the Xbox One’s UI was confusing. The Xbox One UI is not confusing to a damn person who has spent time with Windows Phone or Windows 8. Or for that matter, the bestselling console for the past couple years, the Xbox 360.
Someone on twitter put it best “Aww man, I review new products for a living, but I didn’t really want to actually have to learn how they work.”
A bit past noon, huge confusion breaks out over the Instagram. While the app would not be available for another two hours in the Windows Phone Store, “journalists” start pontificating out of their asses and claim you cannot not take photos from within the Instagram app. Huge amounts of Microsoft bashing from tech journalists ensues on twitter without even bothering to verify this claim. TechCrunch even went so far to publish an article bashing Windows Phone platform and the WP Instagram app without even fact checking anything! The TechCrunch article is still published without any meaningful correction and ends with:
“Well done, Windows Phone team: You’ve just made your platform the Yakov Smirnoff of the mobile world.”
Even so called Microsoft observers joined in on the frenzy because they want to be accepted and respected by their apple & google-loving peers more than reporting what is true and accurate. This happened despite Instagram publishing a blog post explaining more features would come over time and marking the app as BETA. (See: http://blog.instagram.com/post/67574689360/instagramforwindowsphone)
After the confusion cleared up, many people pointed to falling standards in journalisms or the pressure to publish first. The bloggers tried to blame Instagram and Microsoft PR people, claiming they were totally innocent just “passing on information.” I think most people are missing the bigger lesson here. The larger tech blogs wanted to bash Microsoft; they were just waiting for an excuse. When Instagram launched on Android last March it lacked many features too and got video sharing after iOS. (See similar thought here) There were no posts written anywhere bashing the Android app. The Xbox One clearly being the better console and Instagram & Waze finally coming to Windows Phone was just too much for them. (To clarify, in terms of higher average reviewer score regarding the Xbox)
Now, months after claiming Instagram was one of the last major apps needed for Windows Phone platform, the goal posts are being moved. Blog posts published today, which can be found in all the usual places, claiming nearly ~200,000 apps isn’t enough, Instagram, Vine, etc. isn’t enough, and the hardware somehow is still not good enough. The real lesson here is that nothing will be good enough [from Microsoft] for the tech press that lives to love Apple and Google. It is too engrained in the culture that hating Microsoft is cool and biased reporting is perfectly acceptable.
Combating this culture is one of the challenges Microsoft’s new CEO will face. Perception is reality, especially inside the silicon valley bubble. The damage done everyday by articles like the one by TechCrunch and uninformed bashing of Microsoft by influentials on twitter is incalculable. These tweets and posts are seen by the uninformed masses who will never see that this pseudo-controversy was totally contrived. All they know is that the “windows phone Instagram app can’t even take pictures.” Over the years, this in turn has seeped into the American culture that Microsoft is horrible. There is a reason Windows Phone is seeing more success overseas.