Microsoft’s Vexing Marketing “Strategy”

I am finding myself increasingly vexed by Microsoft’s marketing “strategy” for Surface in particular, and for Windows in general.

It seems to go something like this: “Let’s trash the competition by making specious comparisons that highlight the very few things we do better.” Seriously, you’ve seen the Surface ad where the big selling point is that the Surface has a snap-on keyboard. Which costs extra.

The latest is the “Don’t get Scroogled with a Google Chromebook, buy a real laptop for $300 that runs Windows.” Google, they inform you, tracks everything you to do display ads. True, of course, but it’s fear-mongering. They even show some terrified young woman who’s clearly surfing something awful, because she does not like the idea of being tracked. Not that Bing does the same thing. But nothing in the commercial tells me why I should love Windows, it only tells me why I should dislike a Chromebook.

That’s terrible marketing. It’s a company that doesn’t even know why I should love its products, which makes me wonder if Microsoft even loves its products. I’m so glad my career is built around the server stuff, which doesn’t have to do all that consumer marketing BS.

This stretches back to Vista, which was a good OS partnered to an epically bad marketing campaign. I swear, I sat in a movie theater and watched a 90-second commercial for the now-defunct “Flip 3D” feature. Seriously. That’s why I should love your product: it moves windows around in simulated 3D. Really.

It’s kind of surprising, because Microsoft’s current Apple envy has them copying absolutely everything from Apple except the one thing that matters. They copied Apple’s retail stores, but they didn’t copy Apple’s marketing. Apple never talks about the competition (well, not anymore… “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” was successful because it was funny). They just talk about how magical everything is. Doesn’t matter if it’s true – I’m not looking for true. I’m looking for Microsoft to get a little (just a little) self-obssessed and freakin’ evangelize me for a change.

Oddly, MS knows how to do that with Xbox. Just not with anything else. Weird.

Ah well, back to my servers. Which I’m accessing from my Mac, by the way. 🙂