Friday, June 27, 2008

How to Fix Microsoft: More Ads! More Meetings!


Negative perceptions of Vista are one of the most pressing problems facing Mr. Ballmer. Although money rolls in as the software ships on new computers, many corporate users have been slow to adopt Vista.

—The Wall Street Journal


Anybody catch the faulty premise contained in that paragraph?

If you said to yourself, “Well, duh! It's the part where they say ‘Negative perceptions of Vista are one of the most pressing problems facing Mr. Ballmer’” you’d be right.

Perceptions are not the “pressing problem” with Vista. The pressing problem with Vista is that users hate it. And they’re fleeing in droves.

Has anybody at Microsoft—at least in that executive suite—watched a ‘Mac vs. PC’ ad? No?

Didn’t think so.

Just imagine that a single airplane maker had a monopoly manufacturing all the world’s airplanes for twenty years or so. And then they built a new plane that was hard to fly and crashed a lot. Fliers would find an alternative in a hurry.

That's what Microsoft users are doing.

Microsoft’s solution to fixing Vista? More ads! We are not making that up:

Mr. Ballmer has approved a new marketing campaign for Vista that is expected to kick in this year. Meanwhile, he is determined to avoid the delays that plagued that product in the development of Windows 7, which is expected in early 2010.

And how is Microsoft planning to make sure Windows 7 is something people might actually want to use?

More meetings! We are not making that up, either:

One safeguard: he entrusted the project to Steven Sinofsky, a senior vice president with a long history of managing big software projects. Executives said Windows 7's schedule is being managed more tightly, including frequent meetings with Mr. Ballmer and other top executives to monitor progress.

Think Dilbert, Wally and Alice sitting around a table, listening. While the pointy-haired boss talks.

Windows 7 can’t miss.


Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2008 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews.
Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice. It should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever. Nor are these comments meant to be a solicitation of business in any way: such inquiries will not be responded to. This content is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.

3 comments:

deltaverde said...

Perceptions are not the “pressing problem” with Vista. The pressing problem with Vista is that users hate it. And they’re fleeing in droves.

Has anybody at Microsoft—at least in that executive suite—watched a ‘Mac vs. PC’ ad? No?

According to the ubergeeks on "This Week In Tech," it is more of a perception problem than an actual one. They note that while Vista's rollout was rough (and they bashed it unmercifully at the time), it has much better security than previous releases, better search, and there are some menu handling improvements as well.

Your comment about the Mac vs. PC ads underscores that it is indeed a perception issue. People don't go to a brick and mortor store to try out a new operating system before purchasing the computer. They see ads and read reviews. Initial reviews were mostly not ravingly positive. Then the Mac vs. PC ads came out and it was all over. Apple's been bobbing, weaving and jabbing the hell out of a punch-drunk Microsoft which is standing wobbily in the middle of the ring with it's gloves at its sides.

Yes, the software is not the best thing since sliced bread, but the current state of this contest is far more a result of perception than reality. Apple's marketing team is brilliant and Microsoft literally doesn't even have a VP of Marketing. No leadership = getting your ass kicked.

Jeff Matthews said...

Delta Verde: "Ubergeeks" are not the target customer here, and they may not be the best gauge for testing the useability of a desktop computer software system.

I know not one person who installed Vista and likes it; I know more than a few who so hated it they went back to XP. I know still more who simply bought Macs instead of bother with what they'd heard from others who tried Vista.

The Mac ads only crystalize what is wrong with Vista. They do not cause the poor perceptions.

The reason we laugh is because they hit at the truth.

JM

Ray said...

Anybody who has used Vista knows it has problems and its lack of acceptance has nothing to do with perception. I have it on my Gateway laptop and it's a nightmare that is causing regular crashes and downtime. I am not getting value out of my product. I am wasting my time rebooting and trying to get my operating system to do basic tasks like copy files or run a browser without hanging. It's like going back to the stone age to put out an operating system that fails to do these most basic, essential tasks without crashing. I want Microsoft to issue a fix and soon. It's highway robbery to destroy the usefulness of my hardware with an expensive, non-functioning operating system.