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Looking at Digg page on Microsoft I just found an interesting article written on One Microsoft Way, the column about Microsoft on ArsTechnica.

The article, titled  "A good question: Where ARE the Microsoft fanboys?" is an answer to another article written on Information Week a few days before: Why Doesn't Microsoft Have A Cult Religion?

Fanboy:

A person who is completely loyal to a game or company regardless of if they suck or not.
[urbandictionary]

Fanboy is a term used to describe an individual ... who is utterly devoted to a single fannish subject, or to a single point of view within that subject, often to the point where it is considered an obsession. Fanboys remain loyal to their particular obsession, disregarding any factors that differ from their point of view. Fanboys are also typically aggressive and hateful towards the opposing brand or competition of their obsession regardless of its merits or achievements.
[Wikipedia]

Cult Religion:

In religion and sociology, a cult is a term designating a cohesive group of people ... devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding culture or society considers to be outside the mainstream. Its status may come about either due to its novel belief system, its idiosyncratic practices, its perceived harmful effects on members, or because its perceived opposition to the interests of the mainstream culture.
...
In common usage "cult" has a negative connotation and is generally applied to a group by opponents for a variety of reasons.
[Wikipedia]

1 a system of religious worship directed towards a particular figure or object.
2 a small religious group regarded as strange or as imposing excessive control over members.
3 something popular or fashionable among a particular section of society.
[Oxford Dictionary]

My question is: since these words both have a negative connotation, is it such a problem that Microsoft doesn't have fanboys?
Is it good for a company to have followers that scream and shout excited for everything that comes out? or maybe it's better to have users that can see problems, raise an hand, and signal the problem (like it happened with Linq2Entities and DLinq)?

He is right, Microsoft doesn't have fanboys among the general PC user: I think my mother, my brother don't have the knowledge to be a fan of any technology as long it allows them to send email, play games, browse the Internet and doesn't require a BA in Computer Science to install or make it run.

Linux, Java have fanboys among the users because their users are also developers or into IT at some degree, and, as MS developer are, they are excited about the technologies they use to accomplish their jobs, but in my opinion Microsoft developer are a bit less fannish... which, IMHO, its not that bad.

What do you think? Is it good or bad not to have MS fanboys?

PS: emphasis in the citations added by me.

posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 3:56 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: Where are the Microsoft fanboys?

Left by LorenzoC at 5/20/2007 9:44 PM

Well, it is MUCH easier to be fan when they don't charge you big money for EVERYTHING.
Plus, probably being fan of something means to feel special, different from the others.
Since you can find MS technologies everywhere doens't feel so "cool" to be a MS fan. It is too "mainstream", and also too "corporate/governative".

Question, are there any fangirl?

# re: Where are the Microsoft fanboys?

Left by Nic Wise at 5/21/2007 2:10 AM

I think MS doesn't have fanboi's because it doesn't need them :) Without the FB's, MacOS and Linux would be very very quiet - hardly anyone would be talking about them. MS doesn't need that - they have a lot of fans, for sure (and in general, I'm one), but not having rabid FB's is, I think, a good thing.

Lorenzo: yes, there are FanGirls :) Just they are a LOT less common :)

Another reason - in the dev space - may be that you dont need to be a FB in the microsoft space. In RoR for example, you have to put up with little or no ide, poor development tools etc. Compare that to VS.NET, which is literally decades ahead of the ruby tools (or python etc)

Think about how fun .NET dev would be if all you could use was a suped up notepad with highlighting, csc.exe and a commandline debugger.... you dont need to rave about something when it's that much better :)

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