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Google's Schmidt: Microsoft Exposes Complexity, Apple Hides It

At's Dreamforce conference, CEO Marc Benioff interviewed Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. According to Michael J. Miller's summary of the conversation on his PC Magazine blog, Schmidt had a lot of interesting things to say.

Schmidt's take on the difference between Apple and Microsoft is one of the most insightful comments on the subject I've seen. From Miller's summary:

[Schmidt] said Microsoft was built around control, and was organized around the industry structure, not around the consumer. That's something he said he didn't understand until he got to Google. He talked about how Microsoft platforms expose that complexity, but Apple hid it. As a computer scientist, he said he loved that complexity, but consumers don't want to see it.

It's a neat way of explaining the difference between the two companies, and Schmidt puts his finger on something we've regularly, but less elegantly, described at RCP. It's the reason Microsoft is such a great company to partner with, and the reason its consumer products often struggle. Think of all the weird rhetorical knots Microsoft executives must tie themselves into when describing what a "consumer" can do with a feature, while Apple just shows what "you" can do. (I do think Microsoft is getting better at designing products with users at the center, but I've noticed the messaging awkwardness as recently as during presentations on Windows Phone "Mango.")

The rest of the Schmidt-Benioff conversation covers a lot of ground and is well worth a read. You can find the whole thing here.

Posted by Scott Bekker on September 03, 2011