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Windows 8 isn't New Coke, says top Microsoft exec; it's Diet Coke

Gregg Keizer | May 16, 2013
Frank X. Shaw defends Windows disclosure strategy, denies aping Apple.

In the interview, Shaw again blasted press coverage of Windows 8.1. Some stories and opinion pieces described the changes Microsoft might make with the update as a retreat from its previous vision for the OS, and compared Windows 8 to the Coca-Cola debacle of 1985, when within months of the introduction of "New Coke," the beverage giant yanked the reformulated soda.

Shaw's counter-attack drew criticism of its own, with Moorhead saying it was a sign of weakness for a company as large as Microsoft to be thin-skinned.

Shaw disagreed. "These things stick," he said of pieces by The Financial Times and The Economist, which he had earlier singled out as examples of what he called "sensationalism and hyperbole."

"If you don't do anything about it, it can become perceived wisdom," said Shaw, explaining why he wrote the Friday post. "If we don't say anything, then we shouldn't expect other people to read our minds. So we get our voice out there."

Speaking of New Coke, Shaw even had a take on the metaphor.

"If anything, Windows 8 is like Diet Coke," said Shaw. "Diet Coke was a product that mapped an entirely new need expressed by the marketplace, something that tasted just like Coke but had zero calories."

Diet Coke is the world's second-biggest soda, behind only Coke itself and ahead of Pepsi, which it passed in 2010.


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