Brainstorming that relates to the improvement of corporate thinking, as exemplified by Corporate America
...or removing the evil features from various corporations, in small manageable steps
Microsoft currently faces an increasingly negative image, especially among the most technologically aware segments of the market. While that group is only a tiny share of Microsoft's potential marketspace, their opinions on software (and computing in general) tend to be sought out by others, who then make buying decisions based on those opinions -- so those opinions tend to have a disproportionately large effect on the marketplace.
Microsoft could go a long way towards reversing this trend by doing one thing which would cost them very little: release all of their old operating systems (anything older than a certain number of years -- say 5-7 -- or anything for which official support had been discontinued) under an open-source license.
- The big corporations, who are MS's main customers anyway, would continue to get the Latest & Greatest, because they need the support
- Non-computerati (home users, small businesses) who buy name-brand from chains (e.g. Best Buy) would also continue to buy the latest Microsoft products via bundling, because they really don't have a choice
- Anyone who couldn't afford to do either of those things would be able to continue on the Windows train, rather than essentially being forced to jump ship to Linux.
- Old versions of Windows would start to get the bugs worked out of them, too, as hackers began to tinker with the code.
- Everyone, *including* hackers, could start to think of Microsoft as a truly great company, giving back to the community instead of just buying up ideas and burying them forever or locking them up in layers of proprietariness.
Although I have not been able to find references for this, it is fairly well-known that the primary sweetener in Coca-Cola (a.k.a. "Coke") changed in 1985 (in the short time after the introduction of "New Coke" during which the standard formula was withdrawn from sale) from cane sugar to corn syrup. Corn syrup, while much cheaper (apparently due in large part to farm subsidies enacted during the Nixon administration), is widely believed to cause significant health problems.
The Coca-Cola company also admits that the Coke formula has changed many times over the years. Presumably some of these changes were made in response to taste-tests, i.e. to improve the flavor, but at least a few of them were probably made as cost-cutting measures when cheaper alternatives were identified or became available.
The Coca-Cola Company should create a "healthy" version of Coke. It should taste as much like the original as possible, but with the follwing changes:
- Cane sugar instead of corn syrup
- All organically-grown ingredients, harvested using environmentally-friendly and humanitarian methods
- Replace any other cheap-replacement ingredients with more expensive but healthier alternatives
This drink could be marketed in health food stores, where it would probably do quite well due to the name brand recognition. It would also have the positive effect of helping to mend some of the negative image the Coca Cola Company has acquired. (As with computer geeks in the computer market, people who pay close attention to their food intake often have a disproportionate effect on that market.)