Kiwi Microsoft insider Brett Roberts is confused and upset by the widespread negative reaction to his company’s new advertising campaign featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. I’m not surprised.

Nobody could call me narrow-minded, but I found some of the comments on the Australian IT Journo website were over the top and offensive to boot. Sorry chaps the IT Journo site is closed to the public, you need to qualify to have an account. But the general implication is that even if a lost Bill Gates sex tape turned up and played in the ad slot, people wouldn’t be interested.

The reaction wasn’t much better elsewhere.

Now, I’m no apologist for Microsoft. I’ve had some heavy-duty rows with the company over the years and for a while was banned from the company’s press conferences. I even had a minor tiff with Bill himself back in the early 1980s. I also spent years writing for Microsoft Australia’s Communique customer magazine at the same time as editing a high-profile open source website. So on paper I’m seriously conflicted.

Today’s prevailing Microsoft-can-do-no-right attitude is as weird as the Microsoft-could-do-no-wrong mood that was around during the 80s and 90s. Particularly as, in general, today’s Microsoft is doing many more things right than the old, allegedly lovable Microsoft ever did. Above all, today’s Microsoft isn’t an abusive monopolist.

Apple will turn seriously uncool (park that thought) and Google will become unambiguously evil long before people will accept anything from Microsoft at face value again.

In fact, if the rumours about Steve Jobs’ health are even half true, that company’s day of reckoning isn’t far off. And as for Google not doing evil, well that shark was jumped years ago.

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