microsoft-and-starbucksTerrible coffee and blue screens of death. If asked 18 months ago, what I thought of Microsoft and Starbucks, those two phrases would have been my response. Even when moving from San Francisco to Seattle just over a year ago, a friend teased me saying I’d end up working for Microsoft. That idea doesn’t make me laugh as much as it did then.

Both brands are represented poorly in Australia. Starbucks offers weak, horribly-made espresso and cold, over-priced sausage rolls and pies. I switched to Mac when I became tired of having to fix my computer frequently.

So what’s changed with Microsoft and Starbucks?

Living in the US means seeing these brands at their best. I see a delicious food range that I know won’t contain nasty HFCS. I see a community place to meet with friends and colleagues. I see a coffee company that gives back to its team and the community. With both Microsoft and Starbucks, I see innovative retail environments that tell a story from the moment you step inside. I see gaming consoles that weren’t imaginable in my Atari-playing days. I see a company diversifying and developing innovative products. I see software that makes my day easier.

Will I ever switch to drinking Starbucks coffee or buy a Windows computer? Unlikely. But I will consider their other products and be proud of my Starbucks Gold Card and copy of MS Excel.

Photo credit: Ahmad Ziyad Maricar via Flickr