Microsoft has come under fire as 2009 comes to a close. In January, Steve Ballmer marks his 10-year anniversary as the company's CEO. Not many believe it's time for celebration, and some point to the Redmond, Wash., company as completely missing the mark on mobile and search.
For starters, a small design firm, St Louis, Missouri-based Bing Information Design, filed a lawsuit last week against Microsoft, alleging the Redmond, Wash., behemoth infringed on the Bing trademark.
Lawyers from the Simon Law firm representing Bing Information Design say their client, which creates online illustration and designs, has used the trademark "Bing!" since 2000, and has applications pending to register the mark. But it appears that those applications weren't filed until around the time Microsoft launched its engine.
Bing Information Design seeks actual and punitive damages in the suit, asking Microsoft to pay for corrective advertising to remedy the confusion it caused. Many point to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for creating that confusion.
Adding flame to the fire, Newsweek recently published a list of the top tech predictions for 2010. At No. 9 is the forecast that Microsoft will push out Ballmer even though he reaches his 10th anniversary at Microsoft in January. I agree with the article, which describes how Microsoft has missed every big new tech market in the past decade, including mobile and search.
Having visited the Redmond, Wash., campus, walked through Microsoft's home of the future, and had the opportunity to speak with the brilliant engineers at the company, I'm
familiar with the innovations possible. Look at Project Natal, for example. While Microsoft is billing the technology as a motion sensor
application for video games, delays in introducing the technology could put Microsoft behind competitors Sony and Nintendo.
Even Ballmer admits that Microsoft fell short in search. In a video uploaded to YouTube, Ballmer says "we are more like a startup than we are like a big guy in the search market." But acting like a startup, he says, affords Microsoft the ability to experiment in the interface for search, which drives click-through rates and revenue from ads.
In another insult, a Mac-loving comedian took it into his own hands to address Ballmer's blunders. Scott Rose, founder of Los Angeles-based ScottWorld.com and self-proclaimed comedian, spent six years traveling around the country for Apple, professionally speaking for the company at special events and retail store openings, according to his blog.
In the video, Rose interviews a man who says he got laid off from Microsoft by Ballmer after refusing to say "Bing" with enthusiasm during a meeting. It's not clear if Microsoft can take action against this social media stunt, and the company declined to comment.
Rose says the video is a teaser for a new comic screenplay about "what it means to be a little guy in the land of giants" -- a Christmas gift
to the working class at a time when Americans are
scared, jobless and homeless. Working with his screenwriting partner Ernie Brandon, "We wanted to create a comedy that would resonate with how Americans are feeling," Rose says.