Ok so the last time i posted about search on the microsoft site, it wasn't clear cut who was in the wrong (me or Microsoft). This time i believe there is irefutable proof that Microsoft don't really know what they're doing when it comes to powering search on their site.
Right well... why does Windows server appear twice in this list? whats up with that?
And wait.... what, why are you linking me to wikipedia... that isn't a microsoft site.. also why is there nothing about beta in any of those search results? and why when you change any of the criteria in "by download type" do the search results never change?
@Jaz: I think that the first "Windows Server" option in the "By Product" dropdown is supposed to say "Select..." or something to that effect. As for the Wikipedia result, I think the search is powered by Bing, and it's just a little too "eager" in the results returned.
Microsoft needs to remake their website.
No, not their "microsoft.com" front-page (like they do every year), but everything under the microsoft.com domain name. The whole site should be cut down to the bare minimum and everything must be kept consistent. Product groups should not be responsible for the design and layout of their product's web-pages, that should instead be handled by a central web-team that manages the sites for everyone.
and www.azure.com redirects to www.windowsazure.com.
But the Windows Azure management portal URL is windows.azure.com
MS is always confusing. It is very difficult to know what are available for free from MS to the general public, even for people who are more than simple tech savy crowd. So, it is not surprising you will have even harder time to navigate around it when it is not meant for simple general public. It is basically a puzzle game that helps your brain exercise every single day.
Things get worse with localization. There are a number of different approaches:
Subdomain - this is how Wikipedia does it, so you have "en.wikipedia.org" and "fr.wikipedia.org"
Area - this is what Apple does (and they probably do it because they couldn't register Apple.co.uk) - they have "apple.com/uk" and "apple.com/fr", this frees up subdomains for different conceptual websites, e.g. "store.apple.com" which in turn has "store.apple.com/uk"
gTLD - this is what the majority of multinational corporate sites do, especially Microsoft - microsoft.com for global and USA-specific information, microsoft.co.uk for UK-specific details, and so on.
All three approaches are valid, however none of them solve the duplicate information problem, and any approach using DNS (the first and third) risks poor SEO. In practice, I give Apple the most points for good execution, but I think the gTLD option is the best in the long-term but Microsoft just tends to blow it.
I note that Dell (and HP) have adopted a kind of anti-pattern here, their websites make Microsoft.com look like a well-manicured private library. Product information is inconsistent across different geographical websites, the website itself is slow, and it's easy to think you're on your local website when it turns out you've been surfing the USA site all along. Their domain names are also rather cryptic: "www1.euro.dell.com" for example. Dell is a multi-billion-dollar company, they should be able to mask implementation details behind their domain name. Dell is bigger than Google (in terms of employees and revenue) so why do they appear so second-class?
This should be priority #1 for Microsoft to start rebuilding their image...
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