Microsoft's drip-drip-drip Windows communications strategy dubbed a washout
Interview spree by Windows' CFO brings little new information to the table -- and that's a big problem for everyone in the ecosystem, argues analyst
Computerworld - Microsoft today announced it had sold 100 million copies of Windows 8, its first statement on sales milestones since January.
In a blog post and interviews with several influential bloggers and media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Tami Reller, the CFO and head of marketing for the Windows division, went on a mini publicity spree, touting that sales figure, promising changes later this year with an update code-named "Blue," and reasserted the company's dedication to the sluggish Windows RT market.
But except for the 100-million milestone -- which was on par with sales of Windows 7 six months after its October 2009 launch -- Reller provided no new information, said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.
And that's a big problem.
"I think this is a terrible communications strategy," said Moorhead of the less-information-is-better approach Microsoft has taken the last several years, and that in his eyes, it continues to adhere to. While secrecy and news management can be used to advantage by some firms -- Apple was at the top of Moorhead's list there -- he argued that Microsoft's attempt to duplicate the strategy has created all kinds of problems, perceived and real.
"Only Apple can play Apple. I don't think Microsoft makes a very good Apple," Moorhead said.
"Microsoft relies on a large ecosystem that's very diverse," he said, contrasting it with the smaller universe of Apple developers and resellers, the Cupertino Calif. company's lock on its own hardware, and Apple's almost-exclusive play in the consumer space. By comparison, Microsoft has a huge audience of developers, hundreds of OEM partners, and both enterprise and consumer customers to inform. "Microsoft has to generate confidence in that ecosystem to get everyone excited, and to do that it has to keep that ecosystem informed. But [Reller's statements] just seems more of the same."
Many of the points that Reller made in the Microsoft-hosted blog post and in interviews were repeats of what other executives have already said.
While Reller used the "Blue" moniker -- saying that it would appear "later this year" -- and noted that the update would "respond to the customer feedback that we've been closely listening to," code for an assumed restoration of the Start button and perhaps a boot-to-desktop option -- neither was news: Soon-to-depart CFO Peter Klein had already covered both in an earnings call three weeks ago.
Ditto with Reller's references to "the next generation of tablets," and comments about future smaller tablets; her message that PCs are changing, and tablets are only part of the computing continuum; and that users are more satisfied with Windows 8 using a mouse and keyboard than published reports indicate.
- Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
- Microsoft plans to patch critical under-attack IE bug next week
- Microsoft reaches RTM milestone for Windows 8.1 update
- OS upgrades: Cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap
- No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
- Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
- Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
- Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- Cybersecurity Imperatives Reinvent Your Network Security With Palo Alto Networks The Rise of CyberSecurity
- 10 Things Your Next Firewall Must do Next-Generation Firewalls Defined
- Firewall Buyers Guide Operate as the core of your network security infrastructure
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts