Sorry, this is not an uplifting human interest post, not that anyone is expecting that from me. It’s the result of another in a long line of WTF moments I’ve had while experiencing Microsoft PR in the past few months.
In this short period of time, Microsoft PR has succeeded in failing almost weekly. The Mojave experiment. The pre-announcement of the marketing blitz. The first deeply bizarre and strangely-edited Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates commercial. The defensive reaction to all the bad publicity about that commercial. The brazen release of an extended 4-minute follow-up Jerry/Bill commercial, which went over pretty well (and I actually enjoyed). Followed immediately by the inexplicable pulling of all references to the Jerry/Bill ads from the airwaves and their home page followed by a PR release letting us know we misunderstood the marketing program and those Jerry/Bill ads were just a teaser for the real ads. The release of the real ads, a ‘please stop beating me’ rebuttal to Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ ads, complete with John Hodgman doppelganger. Although well produced (on Macs, it turns out) and well-received these were also pulled off of the home page almost immediately. And for a couple of weeks now, nothing at all.
Just now I found this press release on the Microsoft ‘Presspass’ site:
Microsoft Kicks Off Competition for Developers Who “Dare to Dream Different”
I’m not making this up! Dream Different? Do they think that if they steal Apple’s old marketing slogans we’re somehow going to start confusing Microsoft with Apple? Sheesh.
And what is this daring competition about? Well, it’s a fishing expedition for someone – anyone! (ATTENTION all fourteen-year-old corporate developers, they are giving away an Xbox360!) – to come up with a showcase app for some new flavor of .NET, which smells kind of desperate and begs a question: Why (and how) did you develop an application development environment without any freaking idea what your customers could use it for, let alone whether it fit any of your customers needs?
See, Microsoft, it ought to work like this. You observe the market you want to be in. You find the pain points for customers in those markets. You use your vision and skill to produce and deliver a product that eliminates or at least mitigates those pain points. Profit!
Or, you can keep asking anyone who can spell Visual Basic to write your next great app in exchange for toys and prizes.
I don’t think a marketing program can save them. I believe the world is quite done with Microsoft.
(Image by cheesebikini, used under Creative Commons license)