Is Microsoft getting its groove back?
Bing.com, which is basically Microsoft Live Search reskinned and tweaked, has almost all but avoided scathing hateful reviews. In fact the majority seem to be somewhere between meh, lukewarm and positive which is a major feat for the usually reviled brand. Here at Bitterwallet we had a round of binging and after our initial hope to roast it evaporated we declared that for once Microsoft has made a search product that "doesn't completely suck". It's not great, it's not revolutionary, and we'll keep using Google out of habit but "not completely sucking" is a new benchmark for Microsoft online.
The second product release that managed to not suck and actually get some hype was the release of Project Natal at E3. The previews promise an experience like the Wii except with no gesture hardware and full-body control. The hype will be meaningless if Microsoft can't actually release a product which works but in the meantime they are actually positioning themselves as a gaming company that is doing interesting things. Interesting and Microsoft are not words that have been in the same sentence for a long time.
Here's the weird thing though... despite Microsoft's horrible past decade they seem to be creeping into the emotional underdog space. We almost feel sorry for their ineptness and inability to stop the Google machine. On the flip side, it seems that in the last year Google has slowly been creeping into the "evil monopoly" role that Microsoft used to play so well. Could it be that our honeymoon emotions for Google have now waned and we're looking for a proper competitor to take them down a notch?
With Windows 7 getting strong reviews, IE 8 making a big step towards being a decent browser, and the XBOX 360 becoming a gaming platform of choice for many, is Microsoft getting its groove back?