By Rob Beschizza at 6:47 am Thu, May 3, 2012
Microsoft is to drop the Windows Live branding with Windows 8 and Windows RT [CNET]
Bah, their product is so amazing they don’t need no stinking Marketing!
(whew, I almost choked to death typing that, quite surprised my hands didn’t slap the shit out of me)
Gah. I’m a technical writer for a large, specialized tech company, and the latest marketing trend is to not call anything by any name. And then they assign me to write about it.
At my old job we didn’t name things either, but then again, we knew we would be killing the things and did not want to make any attachment.
So who/what is that trend supposed to protect?
Microsoft has produced some really good consumer products over the past few years including the Zune and Windows Phone. Both are successes with the critics and are revolutionary devices compared to the competition. The problem is Microsoft has no real ability to market to consumers. Apple on the other hand is a marketing machine and seems able to convince people to but anything. The following reminds me of MS:
Dearie, dearie me. You will have to do better, Mister Microsoft evangelist. The Zune has been called many things, but “revolutionary” was never one of them. Windows Phone is also been damned with the “as good as” when Microsoft needed a “better than”. The problem lies in Microsoft’s DNA-deep fear of being overtaken, so that they are too busy looking at what others are doing instead of looking at where they could be the first to do something right. Playing defense since 1995 has not left Microsoft in a good position to lead the way, and their culture of paranoia means even they themselves buy into the narrative that they are doomed (despite still making money hand over fist).
But I think your dismissal of Apple reveals another confusion that Microsoft itself has, namely mistaking User Experience for marketing. Since Apple owns the whole widget, they aren’t dependent upon OEM’s to make hardware that will support their product.
And now I’ve gone and made a hash of my counter-argument. Microsoft has infected my style! Aaah!
I support both Apple and Microsoft products in large production environments. Both have their share of strengths and weaknesses. My point was not that Microsoft was better, but that they really don’t have a good sense of marketing to consumers, even when they have some very good products. In no way did I dismiss Apple, but I said quite the opposite saying that Apple was a marketing powerhouse.
By the way, if you really think that Microsoft products aren’t up to par, what do you think of these quotes from Steve Wozniak:
“Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android”
“I’m just shocked, I haven’t seen anything yet that isn’t more beautiful than the other platforms”
“Intuitive and beautiful”
“I just really like the experience and will be carrying the Windows Phone everywhere”
“iPhone is my favorite phone. I did give my opinion that the Windows 7 phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive. In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps.”
“I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things.”
A lot of words that missed my point. Microsoft is at par, but they need to be above par nowadays. Google has beaten them at the game of winning over hardware manufacturers, and bullet points are losing out to UX.
I personally find the Metro UX refreshing and yes, it is innovative, but where it counts for me – in the browser – it’s still lagging behind WebKit-based browsers. Yes, I use a Windows Phone 7 device, as I need to test my HTML code on it (despite analytics showing it clocking in at under 2% of all mobile visitors, with Android 2.x at 53% and iOS 4/5 at 37%), but I still prefer the iPhone 4s for my phone, though the Samsung Nexus is also pretty slick. :)
You use the word “revolutionary” but seem to have no clue what it means.
Revolutionary: outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.
Hmm, somehow you forgot to paste the first part of that sentence: Radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure, principles, etc.:
I can see why you would leave that out.
And your point is? A dictionary contains several meaning/synonyms etc.. I also didn’t include the definition relating it to a revolutionary junta or it being related to the American Revolution, that doesn’t mean that the definition I shared is incorrect.
Instead of calling it Mail App, they should call it “MAIL.EXE” and require you to type it in on the command line to launch it.
And let me compile my own kernel, dammit!
“Hey, you know what will make our product line less confusing? If we rebrand EVERYTHING every four years or so!”
This is why people still refer to “Windows Live Messenger” as “MSN”. That and it’s just way easier to say.
This reminds me of when Ford brilliantly decided to rename their *FLAGSHIP VEHICLE* from the Taurus to the catchy, visually arousing ‘Ford 500.’ What young child didn’t lay awake at night, dreaming of the day they’d one day own a ‘Ford 500?’
About the same number of children that lie awake dreaming of a Ford Taurus. Just because it was their best-selling car (and Ford made a huge mistake in temporarily discontinuing it, no doubt) doesn’t make it anyone’s dream car.
I still dream of owning a Galaxie 500, myself.
The Roman Empire also had a lot of names and fragmentation towards the end.
I hate this trend. Google does this too, and I don’t like it. It’s generic and boring.
As someone who produced advertising for MS, I can tell you the nomenclature thing broke the back of simple messaging. And like any Fortune 10 company, the internal politics look like something from the Bulgarian Central Committee. Ad budgets were wielded like spikey clubs in intradepartmental wars.
And they couldn’t for the life of them articulate anything simple about their products. The Zune, for example, was a social media player. Awesome… wait… wtf is a social media player? Well, check this out, son… you can play back your sweet Maroon 5 wmas right cheer on this baby. Then… SHARE IT WITH YOUR FRIENDS! AT LEAST THE ONES THAT OWN ZUNES! Let’s see your stupid MacPod do that shit!
‘cuz guess what? MacPods don’t play wmas! How wack is that? So all those wmas you bought on MSN.bing.search.music.com are useless! Don’t be an asshole! We’re solving big problems over here in Redmond!
Meanwhile, Apple is able to say: 10,000,000 songs on a napkin. It costs this much. Or: Do you like u2? We have their songs.
Thing was, the clients we dealt with day to day often knew how stupid this all was. But the decisions were made from the top down. And the products were poorly disguised trojan horses to spread MS standards. Zune wasn’t created to respond to a need, it was created to create demand for Windows Media and delicious licensing lucre.
The best thing that happened to Xbox is gaining its semi-independence and moving off campus. Because in the MS environment, size beats success every time.
This, man, this. One of the things that Windows Phone 7 evangelists either flat-out refuse to acknowledge or try to handwave away is MS’ previous foray into mobile computing: Windows CE (or, more appropriately, WinCE), aka Pocket PC, aka Windows Mobile. Awful, awful piece of crap, as nonintuitive to use as the Palm OS was simple, and the best that they could come up with in lieu of actual improvements was to rebrand it every few years and hold an annual mini-conference for gadget bloggers whom they’d wine and dine and give a bookbag stuffed full of free gadgets in an attempt to bribe them for good press. And the Zune, which attempted to prove that there was a market for media players that were colored shit-brown. You can’t blame consumers if they were skeptical even when MS came out with the Zune HD, which was a genuinely nice piece of kit (well, except for the Twitter app that censored tweets), and now Windows Phone, which I’ve always suspected has been hyped by the gadget blogs in part because it isn’t just another iPhone wannabe.
Who’s actually planning to use windows 8? So far it looks like a total mess. with that crappy metro shit, and magical corners and such.
I, good sir, am planning on using it.
Sorry Rob, are you actually trying to make a point by titling this the way you have?
From a marketing point of view, we’ve got 7 services which have the SAME name on WP7 and Windows 7, and the URL to access those services in browser, and then the APIs and former names which have no relevance to current marketing… If anything, this is a great improvement for user understanding – was that your point? Or were you mocking MS for their former mistakes?
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