Dear Microsoft: This Is Your Golden Moment. Why Are You Squandering It?

The earth moved last week with the launch of the iPhone 4. And, no, not just because Apple has sold an estimated 1.7 million of the must-have gadgets in only three days.

Something else happened: Apple bashing—and Apple fanboy bashing—reached an all-time high, even from fellow Jobs’ faithful. (I never heard the term “sheeple” used so many times in 72 hours.)

Microsoft is squandering the opportunity. Rather than using the moment to recast itself as the underdog in this fight, the company is HELPING Apple by continually reinforcing its identity as the Evil Empire.

Consider this poorly conceived blog by Microsoft’s VP of Corporate Communications, Ned Flanders Frank X. Shaw, puffing up how fantastically Windows 7 is performing, and how MSFT makes more money than AAPL and GOOG combined.

Doh! This is exactly what Apple wants, because it’s the kind of bravado that fuels the antagonisms of die-hard Mr. Softy haters.

Why not replace that hubris with a little humility—or, better yet, self-deprecation—for a change? Maybe even make fun of yourself by having Steve Ballmer wait in line at an Apple store. (“Hey, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.”)

Microsoft may—or may not—be doing some great things. But it is impossible to hear over the sound of its own chest-beating. I told a cable company, whom I still love, that once. But, alas, not convincingly enough.