Does today’s speech from President Barack Obama to school children across the United States need any more controversy? Having listened to it, I personally can’t see many parents objecting. But I could see one tech company not happy: Microsoft. Competitors like Google got called out as “good” things to aspire to while a Microsoft’s Xbox was something he suggested should be turned off.
From his prepared remarks, which should be pretty close to the exact speech he delivered: Microsoft gets the bad news early:
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
Turn that Xbox off! OK, perhaps some of the time. And you could argue that Microsoft is getting some Obama love here. It’s an Xbox he’s mentioning, not a Sony PlayStation or a Nintendo Wii.
Still, Microsoft probably would have preferred to have the love that Apple got later on in the speech:
Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine.
No one’s putting the Xbox along with accomplishments like saving lives!
There’s more love for Google, as well as Twitter and Facebook:
Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
Google, Facebook and Twitter alongside landing on the moon, fighting a world war or civil rights. Communication changes, true — though made possible by underlying infrastructure changes, that of the internet, not to mention the telephone system itself.
I also found it remarkable that of six brand mentions in total that I spotted (did I miss more?), five of those were tech oriented (the remaining one was the Harry Potter books).
See also related discussion on Techmeme.
Postscript: Video of Obama’s speech is now up on YouTube: