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Sort your product out Microsoft?

Finished reading an article on Microsoft and their new free virus scanning software, which is about to come out of beta and realised its just another case of a behemoth company that has no idea of marketing and brand.

Link is here: and in this article Microsoft are talking about the discontinuation of Live OneCare, a Microsoft product that didn’t succeed against Symantec. History is littered with Microsoft technology that doesn’t succeed, yet, time after time Microsoft will try and build a product after x iterations. Microsoft pushed into online markets and search in the 90’s starting with their Microsoft Network, which became MSN, then Live Search and now Bing. Where did that strategy get them? they weren’t fast enough and didn’t understand the market, letting Google capture the search and ad market. Interestingly their loyalty scheme where the vendor and customer get discounts by shopping through adverts, didn’t seem to work either to buy market share from Google.

For a company the size of Microsoft, branding and direction must be difficult, but, humans and especially not the technology led iterations, get used to familiarity, using Yahoo mail or AOL mail because thats the mail client they are used to, rather than move to a better mail solution for example.

Same with favorite web sites, people use Google for search because its familiar and we know what the page will look like every time. When Microsoft come out with a new and improved search, they just wasted the 100s’ of millions of dollars used for marketing their last search brand and its not getting them closer to Google. Google is part of the vocabulary of almost every single human on this planet and it is all because their search was nice and simple, returns relevant results and doesn’t change every two years. Will Bing be part of the internet vocabulary in two years time? lets wait and see – I will wager that there is still a branding change to come, Zune maybe?

A company has to have key proficiencies – this is where all marketing, development and research focus should be placed, not throw money at a challenge to make it work, which incidentally is exactly how Microsoft has made the Xbox 360 as successful as it is.

A straight-out flawed product that MS executives knew was faulty at the time of release – fixed by throwing $ 3 billion US at repairs, if only all companies could be this grossly inefficient and still succeed eventually with customers continuing to support them by buying their products.

The way Microsoft market and sell leaves much opportunity for 3rd party vendors to move in and improve what MS does, but the position is not a comfortable one as MS will always build anything that looks profitable once they have viewed the sales of their niche partners, fair enough – its all competition but generally what MS will build is no match for a third party product and their marketing spin will still shutdown customer spending until Microsoft are ready, ILM 2.0?, Microsoft Systems Center Virtual Machine manager, Microsoft VDI broker etc.

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