While there are hundreds if not thousands of blog posts already out there voicing their opinion on the ever raging debate of why Apple  is better than Microsoft or vice-versa, I’ve decided to voice my own opinion on why I think Microsoft’s current position against Apple in the consumer/prosumer market has been not so great in the past few years.

For starters, let’s go back to the beginning of the Windows Vista era. Before Vista even released to the general public back in January of 2007, it was meant to be a killer Windows platform that redefined the way we used computers with a slogan that if I remember correctly was “The “Wow” starts now”. This hype however, was quickly squashed by the numerous complaints from users around the world who were bothered and annoyed by the UAC (User Account Control) panel, compatibility issues with applications running on Vista, and a whole slew of other issues that just made the Vista experience not so pleasurable.

Of course, Microsoft is making a dire attempt to rectify this with Windows 7 which is said to be released October 22nd, 2009. Because Vista in my opinion was so unbelievably bad, Windows 7 will no doubt be Microsoft’s way of trying to fix Vista and make it more user friendly while adding new features which will hopefully work and garner positive feedback. Feedback of course, is what Windows 7 is supposedly built on according to Microsoft’s Windows 7 website. If the release of Windows 7 goes well, they may very well get a foothold back on the OS market.

With regards to Microsoft’s digital media products, their upcoming Zune HD has been claimed to be the “iPod touch killer” and once again may hopefully get Microsoft back into the PMP (Personal Media Player) market.

To be on a more critical side of things, I believe that much of Microsoft’s downfall recently has been their lack of innovation in the R&D department. They’ve been copying their competitors designs and ideas and implementing them in their own products to try and achieve the same level of success. The fact that it took two years for Microsoft to release a touchscreen-based media player to compete against the iPod touch is a huge detriment to them in how many potential sales they have already lost while Apple continues to reap the benefits of success.

What might also be another contributing factor is their CEO, Steve Ballmer. While I personally don’t like his personality or his attitude one bit, I do believe that since he’s become CEO of Microsoft, replacing Bill Gates, their product line has been less and less stable in the past few years than its been before Gates left. Unless it has just been for the media, Ballmer’s attitude towards Apple’s success by pointing out little things that he considers are not going to appeal to a mass market, are simply too expensive, or are rounding errors have clearly contributed to Microsoft’s success so far, by taking Apple’s ideas instead of innovating for themselves.

By doing that, Windows users are switching over to OS X and using the Mac instead of a PC, because while a Mac can run OS X, it can also run Windows via Boot Camp, and consumers are making the switch because of what seems like Microsoft’s inability to create something original with their massive R&D team while Apple’s team is half or even a third of the size and can innovate far better.

Now I know that some may argue that Microsoft can’t afford to make big changes to it’s product line because the enterprise market relies on products like Office to get their jobs done. But even when Microsoft did make a big change with the Ribbon in Office 2007, the public gave mixed reactions whether they liked it or not.

So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that Microsoft really needs to pull up their socks if they want to make a big impression that’s positive and will reflect on them well in the future.