Microsoft genuinely does get a worse deal in the media than similar technology companies in the same space.
I disagree. This isn't a fair comparison. If you're the market leader of course you will get more negative and vocal responses when you change something than if you hold some meager percent of the market.
How much hate has Microsoft got for "forcing apps into the App Store"? How much hate did Apple get for exactly the same decision?
In Apple's case they went from telling developers to write HTML apps to providing them an SDK and a means to market them via their app store. The iPhone was new and not entrenched like Windows so there was nothing to compare the change to. Later Apple did get a lot of backlash by publishers when they started demanding 30% of subscription fees.
How much hate did Microsoft get for changing the interface in Office 2007? How much hate did Google get for changing the interface in Gmail, or how much hate Ubuntu got with Unity.
Google has managed people's expectations better by leaving their products in a perpetual state of beta. That's not a good thing and they have gotten some grief over that. They also do better in the transition by allowing people to keep or go back to the old layout for some time. Ubuntu and linux in general have too small of a user base to be measurable nor a concern for the press.
How much hate did Microsoft get for stopping development on Silverlight? How much hate did Apple get for discontinuing PPC, or Google for killing Google Gears?
Apple's transition from PPC to Intel is what a lot of people wanted; better parity with PC users on peripherals, expansion and the like. Plus they did a pretty good job on app compatibility. Google Gears? Really? How many people did that change impact vs. those in the Silverlight camp?
How much hate did Microsoft get for introducing UAC? Contrast with how much hate Apple have got for entirely disabling Java.
Like Google Apple has done a better job in managing people's expectations. They've always been controlling and "protective" of their users. That's why some people buy their products in the first place.
This is the biggest problem that Microsoft has. For some reason, whenever MS does something wrong, it is seen as a horrendous mistake on apocalyptic proportions, and yet when any of their competitors do an identical, or in some cases more egregious action, it's entirely dismissed by the media and large sections of the IT community.
This is such an over simplification it's not funny. It's a great excuse for Microsoft to ignore their customers however.
Microsoft - and frankly their competitors - would be better if we held all technology companies to the same standards. Keeping on at Microsoft as if everything they do is pure evil and that all of their competitors are knights in shining armour is one of the reasons why Microsoft has got like this, and one of the reasons why Sinofsky found so little resistance to the notion of "let's not tell anyone anything, since it'll only backfire".
If we criticised Microsoft only for the things they actually did wrong, and stopped trying to condemn them for things that don't matter (like WTWF claiming that sidebar Gadgets being deprecated in Windows8 was something anyone gave a damn about), then Microsoft might listen more. If we (as a technology community) were better at choosing our battles with Microsoft, we might win some of them, whereas when we waste precious air fighting the battles that have been lost (like the start menu) or which don't matter (like sidebar gadgets) then Microsoft just gets really good at ignoring you.
It seems to me that Google and Facebook both get ding'd pretty well for privacy issues. Apple with its now giant iOS user base is now starting to feel some of Microsoft's pain. Just look at the Maps debacle as an example.
Regardless to what degree of fairness Microsoft feels its getting from its users or the press that should not be a reason for Microsoft to simply ignore the issues nor for us to continue to blindly give them the benefit of the doubt in turn.