Robert Scoble has a piece today about openness. A guy was on his show and got fired for not following his company's PR policies. Robert runs in a somewhat unexpected direction with this, leading to a discussion of the need for secrecy (!) in corporations.
Naked conversations become scantily-clad conversations...
Evidence #1 was Apple's hype machine over the iPhone. Apple kept the thing under wraps until the very last second, raising hype and getting lots of good PR.
Scoble says that Microsoft was burned by their experience with Vista. They let people know too much and were attacked for it.
Have you noticed that no one has started talking about the next version of Windows? I have. That’s on purpose. They learned their lesson and realized that letting you see inside the meat factory is a little too messy for this new world of PR. Rather keep all that mess behind corporate walls and come out when something is actually finished.
Okay, but, there's a whole slough of differences here:
1. The iPhone was a totally new thing that no one would have to upgrade to
2. The iPhone wasn't replacing an already solid and tested platform
3. People inherently trust Apple to give them good product, the same cannot be said for Microsoft.
4. If the iPhone were to bomb, no one would care and Apple would be out some money; Windows Vista has alienated a good number of Windows users and it's sluggishness and lack of compelling new features has damaged the company
5. The iPhone doesn't need to integrate with nearly every piece of software and hardware on the market.
Windows - even without the inherent pun - requires transparency. Especially now. Windows Vista is the second coming of Windows ME. If the Windows group hides from the community and then unexpectedly springs a new OS on the world, it will not be met with a standing ovation.
Kudos to Apple for releasing what looks like a pretty cool phone, but secrecy is not an admirable corporate trait.