They say that first impressions are everything, and nowhere is this more true than in the tech industry. This week, it seems that the running theme is “do it right the first time or forever play damage control whack-a-mole.” With brands aggressively competing in all spaces, products are leaving the shop floor half-baked and the companies are, thankfully, being punished for it.
Apple can’t seem to catch a break, as iOS 6 Maps has led multiple Australians into a desolate national park some 75 kilometers from their intended destination. The situation was bad enough that Apple received public ridicule and now has the dubious honor of putting people’s lives in danger by pushing out shoddy wares. No number of boardroom shakeups and managerial falling-on-swords can undo what has now become Apple’s albatross. Anytime it tries to compete with Google, or even Microsoft, in information-based application development, people will instantly recall the steaming turd that was iOS 6 Maps.
But don’t get too excited, Android fanboys. Android security is Google’s iOS 6 Maps, and this week it drove that image straight home with a solid whack: Android 4.2’s malware detection service is only identifying, at best, 15% of virus-laden Android apps. That rate is barely good enough to be called a tax on malware — stopping it outright is a long way off. A couple more years of this and Google’s going to start looking like it has the clap and people will be covering their Nexus devices with Magnum rubbers, lest they catch something oozy.
Next up is the Microsoft Surface, which has created the first impression of being the patron saint of slow and buggy. Given that the Surface lacks a retina screen and has a higher price tag than every other tablet on the market when you add in the Touch cover, it's safe to say that Microsoft failed miserably at its first impression test with its crap software execution.
Considering the Xbox is still fighting off years of pain caused by the Red Ring of Death, MS doesn’t need any more “we make really sh*tty quality devices” to hamper what’s already emerging as a failed launch for the Surface. Let’s hope that impression doesn’t spill over into next year’s Xbox 720 launch.
I’m sure Microsoft is pining for the days when it could crush complaints with a threat of pulled advertising, but the days of PR spinning and good press buying are over. Blogs and honest review sites long ago removed the smooth icing that allowed companies to pay for good magazine reviews — the hating industry is a bigger draw for readers. With tech companies emerging as the new celebrities with their respective throngs of fans, the tech paparazzi are hiding in the eaves, waiting for them to screw up and let their vajayjays hang out while exiting the Benz. A bajillion writers are ready at a minute’s notice to pen a 2,000-word diatribe on the dribble of mustard you had on your tie, Apple. Just ask Consumer Reports, which strains to come out with an iPhone gotcha to rival Antennagate with every new iPhone release.
So, big three, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Don’t punch anyone in a bar and remember to buckle up your toddler.