I must admit, I really did not want to like the new Microsoft campaign. I found the initial “Shoe Circus” spot to be silly and irrelevant — an effort that came off as simply trying “too hard” to be funny and awkwardly hip. Then came the joyfully odd bit of suburban “connection” in the latest spot for Microsoft. I love it, have watched it numerous times, and have forwarded it to many people. I have been converted to a Microsoft marketer, if no longer a customer.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2012 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand management and performance comprehensively. It is the only annual ranking of companies that demonstrate overall, balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand and related intangible assets, providing an indicator of total business strength and effectiveness.
In its August issue, Vanity Fair charges Microsoft with losing its mojo, pinning much of the blame on CEO Steve Ballmer. While the article makes some useful and valid observations, it never completes the circle, relating them back fully to the larger, underlying issue that ails brand Microsoft: the company has strayed far from the management and proper deployment of its founding vision.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of key intangibles. It is the only annual ranking of companies demonstrating comprehensive and balanced approaches to managing the full spectrum of brand capital, which provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2010 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as a blend of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Microsoft ranks #4 on the Davis Brand Capital 25, besting twelfth-place rival Apple. Despite taking some hits in a year-long advertising tit-for-tat with Mac, Microsoft joins fellow technology brands IBM (#1), HP (#3) and Cisco Systems (#5) at the top of this year's list. The Davis Brand Capital 25 is the only annual list to evaluate brand as an amalgam of intangibles, including brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact. Microsoft's top-five ranking is a reflection of the company's successful management of its brand capital across a diverse portfolio of technology products and services.
Davis Brand Capital today released the 2009 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking, which evaluates brand beyond its traditional marketing function and considers it as an amalgam of intangibles creating value in the intellectual economy. The ranking compares the five key intangible categories by which the consultancy defines brand capital: brand value; competitive performance; innovation strength; company culture; and social impact.
Nearly two months after we first met Lauren, Mac has tapped its own laptop hunter. Like Lauren, Giampaolo, Lisa and Jackson, Megan values big screens and fast processors. But unlike her PC-loving predecessors, Megan's final factor is usability.
The hunt for my wife’s new laptop just got more difficult. Apple recently announced a planned reduction in prices for a pair of to-be-announced Macs. And the blogosphere is brimming with speculation.
I’m no fan of Microsoft’s laptop hunter campaign. I’ve said my piece on the Lauren and Giampaolo spots, both desperate attempts to bolster sales in a down economy and paint PCs with the “cool” brush CPB so effortlessly wields. On the plus side, the third installment stops playing HP favorites, and the mother-son duo moves us away from the SAG-gy hipsters we’ve stomached to date. Still, there's no brand advancement, and when there’s a chance to land a hard jab on Apple, Microsoft manages only a glancing blow.
Microsoft’s laptop hunters are back. This time we follow Giampaolo, a tech-savvy Roman import with “really big hands” (heh... good one, CPB). He’s looking for “portability, battery life, and power.” Portability you say? In a laptop?
What’s the better recession strategy: being the pricier brand everyone wants, or being the more affordable second choice? Microsoft is betting the farm on the latter with its latest attempt to counter Apple’s I’m a Mac campaign.
There’s plenty of chatter about Microsoft’s new viral video. Great. You got some people to watch it, and with this post, even more. At a technical level, the spot is working (pun intended). At a brand level, I am at a loss.
Microsoft wowed the web in 2007 with the Surface. Its latest vision of the future, 2019, is equally powerful (for a shorter version click here). The video features hyper-productive professionals in perfect sync with technology. The beautiful special effects and hypnotic music distract the viewer from the fact that, given the roomy planes, empty airports and sparsely-populated cities we see, a superflu apparently has killed off all but a handful of architects and their children. Plague aside, imagining a world like this makes us smile - as do the comments left by YouTube viewers, who inject a healthy dose of Microsoft, circa 2009, into this utopian world.
It’s rare to see the first person applied effectively to brand voice. Corona beer does it brilliantly, visually transporting consumers to pristine beaches unsullied by human form. Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign does it metaphorically, caricaturing “PC” as a bumbling, insecure uncle scrambling to hide his inadequacies from a hipper counterpart. But Microsoft’s attempt to counterpunch by commandeering “I’m a PC” as a populist rally cry failed.
Old Facebook was charming. It was simple. It did a job nothing else had done. I liked the odd tidbit updates from friends and colleagues, the new form of autobiography, the passionate grouping of wing nuts and dilettantes alike. Mostly, I liked that it was, in its own words, “a social utility.” It was helpful, and it performed. Then along came Microsoft with a huge infusion of cash and, it seems, clunky PC-world inefficiency and “more is better” ideology. So now we have the “New Facebook.” A fix without a problem. A mousetrap with no rodent. And, I would suggest, a business model without a business.
Design has emerged as a new forcing function in the historical cycle of business integration. It’s what lets companies monetize the intangibles — especially the all-encompassing “experience.”
The European data protection activists behind the Europe v Facebook (evf) campaign group, that has long been a thorn in Facebook’s side in Europe, have filed new complaints under regional data protection law targeting Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Skype and Yahoo for their alleged collaboration with the NSA’s Prism data collection program.
So the PC is doomed, but classic PC companies may not be.
Google's master plan for mobile is finally coming into focus.
Microsoft's co-founder and current chairman Bill Gates praised the company's investments in Windows 8 and Bing, but said Microsoft is still not doing enough to innovate.
Ahead of today's Halo 4 release The Verge has revealed that plans are underfoot at Redmond to develop a gaming tablet, the Xbox Surface. It's a seven-incher and its production has so far been kept apart from existing Xbox lines.
For years, Microsoft sidelined itself from the world of Web standards. Internet Explorer, especially the now-despised IE6, exemplified how spurning standards held back the Web. But Microsoft has performed an about-face.
Microsoft Corp. seems to be serious about its foray into the tablet market – the software giant is planning large volume production of its first tablet computer, Surface, in the fourth quarter.
Author and interaction design researcher Richard Banks shares his thoughts on the interaction between storing memories digitally and physically. Richard is the Principal Interaction Designer at Microsoft Research‘s Socio-Digital Systems group, a team analyzing how families use digital and analog media and building technological objects in response.
Successful innovators ask users to embrace--or at least tolerate--new values, new skills, new behaviors, new vocabularies, new ideas, new expectations, and new aspirations. They transform their customers. Successful innovators reinvent their customers as well as their businesses. Their innovations make customers better and make better customers.
Kodak's auction of intellectual property has yet to produce a sale. But it has had one unlikely result: turning the fiercest rivals in the global patent battle into potential collaborators.
Pulse, the popular news reading app for iOS and Android, is finally available on the web. The service, which launched two years ago and now has over 15 million users, only focused on mobile platforms until now.
Nielsen’s been fairly busy attempting to connect the dots between TV and online advertising. Today, the research firm is announcing Nielsen Online Audience Segments—TV Viewing, a program that’s designed to let a brand target online consumers based on their television and Web-viewing habits.
Microsoft is reimagining its entire business model, and they’ve laid out the details for anyone to inspect. You just have to read between the boilerplate sections in the company's most recent 10-K.
It was just reported that Barnes & Noble fell short of market expectations, reporting a fourth-quarter loss of $57.7 million this week. Giving Barnes & Noble a much-needed lift for its growing but expensive digital business, Microsoft announced that it would invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, valuing the unit at $1.7 billion. But, while a nice infusion of cash never hurts, it will only go so far, unless it’s directed toward creating consumer engagement with the brand.
Microsoft Corp. unveiled its own Windows-powered tablet computer called Surface, altering its strategy of focusing on software and relying on partners to make the machines in a renewed attempt to take on Apple iPad.
While Google keeps cramming its search results pages full of tools and social content, today Bing confirmed with me the full roll out a redesigned search results page that completely clears the left sidebar, and replaces the tabbed header with a cleaner set of links.
How does a multi-national mega-brand, responsible for crafting a consistent image all over the globe, manage to navigate the potentially treacherous waters of hot-button cultural and political issues in the places where it does business?
While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days.
Microsoft and Apple should hate one another right now. I mean, really hate each other. After decades of domination, Microsoft has watched their rival move from death’s door to become the most valuable company in the world
Apple, Inc. is on fire. The Cupertino-based company's stock soared past $490 per share on Thursday and is now hovering around $495. Shortly after 3 p.m. on Thursday, the company's market cap was valued at $461 billion, according to Google Finance. This makes Apple slightly bigger than both Microsoft and Google combined. Currently, Microsoft's market cap sits close to $258 billion, and Google's is $199 billion.
Apple has edged out IBM to become the top brand of 2011, according to an annual list from marketing strategy firm Davis Brand Capital. The Cupertino-based company ousted IBM, which topped the list in 2009 and 2010.
Coca-Cola is the only Atlanta-headquartered company to make the 2011 Davis Brand Capital 25 ranking which “provides an indication of the strength and effectiveness of an entire business.” The annual ranking measures brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
Microsoft had the third most "brand capital" among companies in 2011, according to a new report by a company whose business is helping clients boost this. Microsoft held the same spot in Davis Brand Capital's 2010 report, one place up from 2009. Longtime rival Apple topped the list for the first time, moving up from seventh place last year. IBM, whose decision to use Microsoft for its operating system three decades ago made the Redmond tech giant, fell from first to second. Davis' ranking looks at brand value, competitive performance, innovation strength, company culture and social impact.
It’s an age-old question that small businesses and corporations alike seem to be divided on at the start of each year and beyond. When business is slow, is it better to market your business more using every marketing and social media tool available or taper off until the economy picks up? Or in some cases, just stop marketing altogether?
The acquisition of Twitter by Google is the ultimate strategic buyout. We know that Twitter turned down a $10 billion buyout offer from Google sometime in early 2011. There have also been other overtures made over the past several years by Google, Facebook and Microsoft. Surprisingly, Twitter is still independent. Why hasn’t Google paid up with all of that cash on its balance sheet? How could Twitter turn down $10 billion when the company isn’t worth anywhere near that based on earnings or even projected earnings (1999 style)?
Last night in after-hours trading, Apple's stock dropped precipitously. The prophets of Apple's doom emerged after a very long hibernation. Even those bullish on Apple's prospects could hardly muster more than lukewarm praise of Tim Cook's appointment to CEO of Apple Inc, saying, "he's pretty good, but he's no Steve Jobs." We believe they're all missing the point. Jobs has managed to perform the ultimate feat of leadership — he's embedded himself so deeply within the cultural fabric of Apple that the company no longer needs him.
From a Lady Gaga prayer bracelet to special sushi rolls at restaurants, the disaster in Japan has led to a rash of relief efforts. But as consumers become increasingly skeptical of cause-related marketing, celebrities, organizations and major marketers have to walk a fine line, trying to help without appearing to exploit the tragedy for profits.
Cloud technology isn’t hype anymore: Businesses are moving computing work to the cloud. And with trillions of tech dollars at stake, it’s war up there. Here are the tech companies battling for their piece of the market.
As the surreptitious tracking of Internet users becomes more aggressive and widespread, tiny start-ups and technology giants alike are pushing a new product: privacy.
Microsoft managers probably shouldn't bring iPhones to business meetings. Ford employees shouldn't commute to work in BMWs. Coca-Cola employees likely shouldn't drink Pepsi on their lunch breaks. As a rule, companies with strong brands and competitive cultures expect more than a modicum of brand loyalty from their employees and contractors. But with employment opportunities tight and economic recovery slow, a profound organizational transformation is taking hold. "Loyalty to the brand" is mutating into "Living the brand." Brand values — not just brand value — are seen as core competitive differentiators.
The slow collision and then merger of media and tech has been underway for more than a decade, and it's playing out again at the Consumer Electronics Show, which has become a required stop for media, agencies and, increasingly, brands. For tech brands such as Intel, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung, this is the Super Bowl, but non-tech marketers are playing too, in part because, well, there really is no such thing as a non-tech brand.
The Year's Biggest Branding and Marketing Fiascoes
The battle between Google and Microsoft to shape the future of personal computing has stepped up a gear after Google unveiled an internet-centric laptop that it said would offer a cheaper alternative to the traditional PC. Executives at the search company said companies such as American Airlines and Kraft had been lining up to try out the new machine in the hope of saving large amounts on their PC costs.
Employees at the Silicon Valley design firm IDEO LLC spotted weaknesses in the current crop of electronic-book readers. So they did what came naturally to them and designed their own.
How hot is cloud computing, which enables users to access data, software and services over the Web and corporate networks? Check out Microsoft's new "I have cloud power" campaign, which promotes microsoft.com/cloud and "the most comprehensive solutions for the crowd — on earth. From Microsoft."
Ray Ozzie, the software visionary who was hired to galvanise Microsoft’s attempt to overhaul its business for the internet era, is to leave the company after a brief transition, it was announced unexpectedly on Monday. “He was trying to push against the wind to accelerate the change,” said Wesley Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. “They’re a slow-moving company that needs to move faster.” Microsoft’s slow progress in cloud computing was one reason that Goldman Sachs downgraded its recommendation on the company’s stock earlier this month after many years of rating it a “buy”.
Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. unveiled a plan to improve the results of Microsoft's Bing search engine by tapping into peoples' social connections on Facebook, amping up the rivalry with Google Inc. The companies described the agreement—a deepening of an existing partnership—as a big step in improving the personalization of search results for everything from movies to restaurants. The deal could also give Microsoft a way to distinguish Bing from Google's market leading search engine.
How a tiny piece of software created by a few Google engineers is ushering in the mobile revolution and reshaping the fortunes of the world's biggest tech companies.
Last summer, while researching how teenagers engage with social media websites, Danah Boyd interviewed a girl who had recently broken up with her boyfriend. The girl wanted to share her sadness with friends, but not with her parents, who she knew had Facebook access. Her solution: posting lyrics from “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,’’ a Monty Python song steeped in irony, to communicate her true feelings. Friends responded with appropriate concern, while her parents remained appropriately clueless. “She managed privacy issues well in a very public setting,’’ said Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research New England, a lab supported by the software company.
On Wednesday, Microsoft officially released a beta version of Internet Explorer 9, the latest remake of the company’s nearly-ubiquitous Web browser. A few months from now, it will become the built-in browser on all new PCs. Most techies think of Internet Explorer as the first piece of software they replace on a new computer. Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera are the preferred browser brands among self-styled geeks. But IE9, as everyone calls it, has some features of its own that make it worth a test drive.
In early 2008, Microsoft Corp.'s product planners for the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser intended to give users a simple, effective way to avoid being tracked online. They wanted to design the software to automatically thwart common tracking tools, unless a user deliberately switched to settings affording less privacy. That triggered heated debate inside Microsoft.
Those of you who are Star Trek fans would have felt right at home with me the other day. I went to check out the new Microsoft store which just opened at Fashion Valley mall here in San Diego because I wanted to do a compare/contrast to the Apple store in the same mall. My fellow fans would have felt at home in the Microsoft store not because it was a cool look at the future of culture and technology, but rather because it seemed to be the Mirror Universe.
For every Intel that intentionally crafts its trajectory as a brand rather than as a mere product, there are dozens of brands such as LYCRA, KONI, and Dell that have developed a deep resonance with customers more by accident than strategic intent. To judge by their websites and communications, the owners of these brands are well aware of what their products do for customers, but unaware of what they mean to customers.
Did ESPN just get "mediajacked"? Come Thursday, in prime time no less, ESPN gets the exclusive. But to do it, the Disney sports network appears to have sacrificed revenue -- and even some journalistic control by letting Mr. James choose one of his interviewers -- in exchange for the ratings and buzz the event is likely to provide. Commercial revenue from the special program -- which is being called "The Decision" -- will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of America, a charity that ESPN and Disney also support.
According to Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, who spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival recently, Twitter is handling 800 million search queries per day. At Twitter’s Chirp conference in April, Stone said Twitter was serving 600 million search queries per day — 33% less than the microblogging service is processing now.
In what may be one of the fastest launch-to-failure paths ever taken by a major marketer, Microsoft's Kin, the company's first phone product, is being discontinued just six weeks after its May 13 launch. As first reported by Gizmodo, the phone's marketing and product development teams are being shifted to work on the launch of the Windows Phone 7.
Tomorrow's Web seems to be shaping up for a battle between two major players - Facebook and Google, with Apple and Microsoft holding down their own tangential fiefdoms, and smaller services, like Twitter and LinkedIn, chugging away with their utility-like products. Make no mistake of it - while there is room for innovation and success at these smaller levels, Facebook's goal is to own as much of the Web as they can, and Google would like to make sure they don't. An open Web, however you define it, is good for Google, presenting a myriad of opportunities for search ads everywhere, while a Facebook-controlled universe is not. And the latest rumors, spawning from a simple update by Digg's Kevin Rose hinting at a direct Facebook competitor, dubbed Google Me, have people wondering if Mountain View is preparing another major assault aimed to keep Zuckerberg and crew off the top pedestal.
To inform consumers about the new product launch, Microsoft and agency JWT have created a series of Web videos showing actual Beta testers telling how the new Office 2010 helps them with home, school and small-business tasks. The videos talk about how these users want to "Make it great" (the theme of the campaign).
Years ago, business technology was driven by corporations that needed Excel spreadsheets to crunch sales numbers. Now it's also driven by consumers who want to find the nearest happy hour on an iPhone. As Microsoft starts pitching a new version of its Office software to consumers Tuesday, that consumer is riding a power trip in the tech world, driving workplace use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, devices such as the iPad and iPhone, and free Web apps such as Google Docs.
One of the most challenging things for a large successful organizations is to create an innovation large enough to make a difference. When a company’s on the brink of death, they will entertain many radical alternatives, but economic health is the enemy of change — which is one of Microsoft’s great problems.
One of the things that excites people most about technology is that it is seen as a gateway to the future. So how does that explain the recent glut of lo-fi adverts, software, and user interfaces that seem to be being spewed out by so-called hi-tech companies? Case in point is the recent ad for Google Chrome, released a couple of months after OK Go's sublime take on Rube Goldberg, but tech companies are not merely saluting the art of lo-fi in their advertising campaigns, but in their products too.
How does a company inspire its consumers and what does it mean for business growth? Inspiration Blvd, a brand-consulting firm in Alpharetta, Ga., surveyed 1,752 consumers to identify America's top motivating companies. Conducted online, the survey asked consumers to pinpoint influential indicators--such as innovation, reliability, growth, charity--and to freely describe companies they see as inspiring. The goal was to determine a correlation between successful companies and companies that inspire their consumers, says Terry Barber, chief inspiration officer of Inspiration Blvd. "We set out asking whether companies that inspired others were more likely to connect and draw shoppers," Barber says. "We see now there's a strong link between the message consumers take away and how they act on it."
The goal was to determine a correlation between successful companies and companies that inspire their consumers, says Terry Barber, chief inspiration officer of Inspiration Blvd. "We set out asking whether companies that inspired others were more likely to connect and draw shoppers," Barber says. "We see now there's a strong link between the message consumers take away and how they act on it."
With a slide in the value of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) on Wednesday, Apple Inc. (AAPL) took over its long-time rival in terms of market capitalization, another notch in its impressive 2010 performance. The move by Apple, despite its own shares slipping 0.5% to $244.11, makes it the second-largest U.S. company behind oil behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM). Apple's shares have soared during the year, pushing it first past retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and now past Microsoft, two highly regarded blue chips. Apple has gained 16% in 2010 and hit an all-time high of $272.46 one month ago as its products have continued to fly off the shelves and its newly released tablet computer has garnered much attention.
Apple has long been the little guy in the Mac vs. PC debate, but that's no longer the case. As of trading on Tuesday, Microsoft and Apple both have roughly equal market capitalizations of around $230 billion. By another measure--adding in debt and other factors--Cupertino has actually surpassed Redmond in total value. The fact that Apple has reached this level of valuation represents a remarkable turn of events in the history of computing.
Did Google just turn the tables on Apple? Having entered the mobile software market late with its Android offering, Google's initial efforts were a pale imitation of the iPhone OS, a clunky user experience on sub-par handsets. Fast forward to 2010. Suddenly, Google Android is winning over the hearts and minds of technologists and signing up 100,000 converts a day. That raises the question: Is the iPhone losing its sheen?
Google is a technology company. This doesn't mean it will abandon search. But after 20 years in technology and marketing, I know the signs and can say unequivocally that the company has crossed over. It reminds me a little of Microsoft's climb to the top, complete with regulatory issues and privacy concerns. The attention, this week anyway, turns toward applications, specifically those built on Android. And while those applications could integrate with search, the technology is the star of the show.
When Google upgraded their Local Business Center to Google Places, it launched the opening salvo in what we expect to be a long war for local advertising dollars. With local advertising revenues expected to reach $144.9 billion in 2014 according to BIA/Kelsey — and more and more dollars are shifting away from traditional media toward digital media buys — the new war for local ad spend will be a battle between the Internet (Internet) titans and social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Foursquare, Yelp and even Apple are all attempting to carve out their own niche offering for local advertising dollars. Who will succeed remains to be seen, but this is a fight you won’t want to miss.
It is often said about the internet that you cannot advertise your way to market share. At least that's what former Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone will tell you. Priceline.com and Hulu, of course, have other ideas. So what of Microsoft's $100 million campaign for Bing? Its query share hit 11.8% in April, according to ComScore, up from 8.4% since Microsoft's search service was re-launched 10 months ago. "Bing continues to impress with continued market share gains," Citibank analyst Mark Mahaney said in a research note.
Facebook Inc. is catching up to rivals Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in selling display ads. In the first quarter, Facebook pulled ahead of Yahoo for the first time and delivered more banner ads to its U.S. users than any other Web publisher, according to market-research firm comScore Inc.
New ad campaigns suggest marketers are eager to shake off the gloom of tough economic times--and they hope consumers will do the same. While some economists aren't sure the tough times are history, advertisers don't seem to care. Companies are rolling out carefree ads that use humor, colorful images and upbeat language to get consumers to lighten up--and open up their wallets.
The success of Apple’s mobile devices gives the firm an opportunity to capture a goodly chunk of the emerging mobile-advertising market. Indeed, that is the reason why Apple recently acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising agency. Becoming an advertising powerhouse is certainly attractive. But Mr Jobs has far bigger fish to fry. The biggest of them all is turning Apple into the Microsoft of mobility. But first there is a little matter of locking as many software developers as possible into the Apple ecosystem. If the applications are there, so the argument goes, users will follow in droves.
Ah, the cloud — these days, Silicon Valley can’t seem to get its head out of it. The idea, though typically expressed in ways larded with jargon, is actually rather simple. Cloud providers, large ones like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and AT&T, and smaller ones like Rackspace and Terremark, aim to convince other companies to give up building and managing their own data centers and to use their computer capacity instead.
Google may be fighting a multifront war against Apple, Microsoft, federal antitrust regulators and the government of China, but its online advertising business continues to hum along nicely. The company topped published forecasts on Thursday, reporting that its net income in the first quarter jumped more than 37 percent from the recession-mired quarter a year ago. Sales grew 23 percent from the period a year earlier. But the stock was down nearly 5 percent in after-hours trading because the results were lower than the “whisper number” of analysts, the unpublished estimate that some analysts give clients. Google shares closed at $595.30 in regular trading before the earnings release.
Microsoft is trying to home in on a younger, chattier demographic with two new cellphones centered on social networking. The Kin One and Kin Two allow users to keep closely synched with sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. The start menu displays a montage of photographs from friends with notes about what they are doing rather than a more traditional menu that caters to phone functions. The Kins also have touch screens, links to the Zune music service and high-powered cameras for capturing photographs and video.
Slowly but surely, Google keeps trying to chip away at Microsoft’s core Office productivity suite with Google Docs, its free online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Today, Google Drawing is being added to the mix and Google Docs and Spreadsheets is getting a major realtime update. Both are being announced at Google’s Atmosphere event.
Companies are figuring out how to profit from anonomized customer data.
Justin Long, the floppy-fringed star of the Mac v. PC ads, revealed that he heard it from a good source (er, a PC, actually) that the sweet-natured, yet passive-combative ad campaign run by Apple is coming to an end. In an interview with The A.V. Club, he remarked, "I think they might be done. In fact, I heard it from John [Hodgman,] I think they're going to move on. I can't say definitively, which is sad."
Tim Cadogan, chief executive officer of Pasadena open-source ad server OpenX, is aiming to shake up the advertising war between Google and Yahoo by taking the fight off their turf. Cadogan is teaming up with Orange-France Telecom ( FTE - news - people ) Group to create a new OpenX-powered advertising exchange to serve all of Europe. The ad exchange, rolling out this summer, will be similar to Wall Street's electronic trading system. Marketers will have the power to bid on ad space available through Orange, a telecommunications company that doubles as an advertising network, and reach Orange's 340 million monthly unique users in 32 European countries.
Customers may not know it, but senior executives are counting on them to help reinvent, reposition, re-ignite and regain brand relevancy. They are helping businesses and brands take swings for the fences that actually have a shot at going out of the ballpark. They are not just joining the conversation but fully taking notes, leading to action and big outcomes that are driving their businesses and brands forward. So, while Tiger and Toyota are grabbing too many recent brand headlines, three other companies are paving the way for others who want to make a serious brand-pivot.
Microsoft on Wednesday fired the latest salvo in its multiyear battle to crack the business telephony market. At the VoiceCon event in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft is demonstrating for the first time the next version of its Office Communications Server product. Code-named Office Communications Server "14," the new version is part of the Office 2010 wave of products and is due out before the end of the year.
While Twitter seems to have the market sewn up when it comes to the public sharing of snippets of information, the competition is heating up for offering similar services inside a corporation. Microsoft, for example, is testing OfficeTalk, a microblogging service that's a sort of Twitter for businesses, while Google has been using an inside-the-company version of its Google Buzz feature to allow co-workers to share information with one another.
I spent the last 36 hours visiting with various folks at Microsoft, including CMO Mich Matthews and head of MSN/Bing Yusuf Mehdi. I also spoke with a number of senior marketers across the company and had a chance to preview a bunch of recent and percolating thinking in a talk I gave yesterday. All in all, I came away with way more ideas that I started with. The musing below is just one of them.
It's hard to believe that a year ago, Google and Apple were still best friends. Google CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple's board. Plenty of Google employees proudly showed off their iPhones. All seemed fine as the two companies took on their common enemy, Microsoft.
Last October, we reported on a brewing Apple trademark battle in Australia. Apple was suing Woolworth, an Australian supermarket, over its use of an apple for its brand logo. Apple claimed the logo would compete for market share and create confusion in the minds of consumers. Well, it seems Apple's trademark adventures Down Under continue. In a new ruling, the tech giant has been told that it has no exclusive use of its vaunted "i" prefix. More than just another trademark lawsuit loss, reports of questionable legal action on Apple's part is beginning to pile up and the brand that "thinks different" is beginning to look a lot like...*gasp*... 1990s Microsoft.
MSN on Tuesday officially debuted its refurbished home page, with a greater focus on Bing-powered search, local content, in-line video, and top social networks. "This marks the beginning of the ramp-out over the next couple weeks of our new home page here in the U.S.," said Erik Jorgensen, ccorporate vice president at MSN. The new site, which went live in beta form last November, also includes a new MSN Local Edition, which will exist as a stand-alone Web site, but will feature prominently on the relaunched MSN home page.
Over the last few months, I've discussed in depth the tectonic shifts rocking the macro and micro economy. Let's put it all together. Here's what the 21st century demands from firms of all stripes: a paradigm shift in the nature of advantage. The past of advantage was extractive and protective. The future of advantage, on the other hand, is allocative and creative.
Google Inc. is testing a new television-programming search service with Dish Network Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, the latest development in a fast-moving race to combine Internet content with conventional TV. The service, which runs on TV set-top boxes containing Google software, allows users to find shows on the satellite-TV service as well as video from Web sites like Google's YouTube, according to these people. It also lets users to personalize a lineup of shows, these people said.
Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 OS will not run any apps developed for its previous versions. It has put its proverbial foot in the sandy marketplace and said no to expectations that all versions of Windows run all the applications ever written for it, and traded "backward compatibility" for a "clean slate." I think it's the dumbest smart thing Microsoft has done recently, at least on the brand and marketing front. I can name three reasons:
There was recently a little skirmish on the web regarding the question of whether or not Microsoft has stopped innovating — whether the internal corporate culture there has thwarted new ideas, and so on. Well, I think we can all agree that Microsoft hasn’t exactly been an innovation machine in recent years; although, with as little currency as the word “innovation” has these days, that’s not saying much — but the fact is that its products haven’t shown as much ingenuity as its competitors in nearly every arena. And like a dragon guarding its hoard, it has striven primarily to maintain its stranglehold on enterprise, which makes up the vast majority of Microsoft’s treasure intake. Who can blame them? You wouldn’t give up a goose that laid golden eggs either. But the the goose is getting old, and people are getting tired of eggs. What’s the next step?
Seeking $335,000 in unpaid advertising bills, Google Inc. filed suit against a small Internet site in Ohio in October. The complaint was so routine it was just two sentences long. Google never expected the response it got. Last month, the small Internet site countered with a 24-page antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the search-engine giant of a litany of monopolistic abuses.
One troubling recent phenomenon is the push for everyone to be innovators. I suspect more books have been sold with the word innovation in their title in the last 10 years than in the previous 50, including, I confess, one of my own. And while much has changed, it's hard to say the quality of things in the world has improved as fast. Keen-eyed consumers bemoan the low quality of many of the things we buy and try to use. Web sites divide short articles across 25 ad-filled pages. Gadgets quickly run out of power. Smartphones have anemic reception or fragile screens. Many things we buy and use never work in the way we're promised, which suggests there are opportunities in merely being good: Much of what's made falls short of that mark.
Analysts estimate that fewer than 5 percent of the HDTVs sold in the United States last year can go online to pull in movies and television shows, bypassing traditional cable and satellite TV service. Now, however, the idea of an Internet-ready home entertainment setup has a powerful new backer: Wal-Mart.
In my last column, I had the chance to chat with Bing Director Stefan Weitz about how Microsoft is approaching search as it sits today. But the question I asked that lead to the interview in the first place was “Where does search go from here?” Microsoft’s Bing team certainly has its own ideas of where search might be going and that’s what I’ll be covering in the continuation of my conversation with Stefan. Ultimately, I’m looking at how search can become more useful for users. Right now, there are two huge challenges that are boxing in search as a tool that’s truly useful in our day-to-day lives. The first is an input challenge. Language is notoriously ambiguous. In my last post, Stefan and I talked a little bit about the challenge of semantics and search. When I say “Jaguar,” what do I mean? Is it an animal, a NFL team, a car, an operating system, or some other obscure meaning that has crept into usage somewhere?
In a demo that drew gasps at TED2010, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos new augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft.
"To build a global medium as central to people's lives as the telephone or television ... and even more valuable." This was Steve Case's vision in the early 1990s, and everyone wanted to be a part of it. The company he founded, American Online, was one of the nation's most admired. By turning Internet access into a home utility, AOL became one of the nation's most admired brands and workplaces. It was the Google or the Facebook of its time. Then something happened.
The technology we call innovative will seem pedestrian to our children. From touch screens to open source, our kids are being conditioned to interact with technology in ways we hardly expected even a decade ago, despite what "The Jetsons" foreshadowed back in the '60s. One thing seems increasingly clear: our children are not being conditioned to buy Microsoft. Not anymore.
Microsoft is getting cozier with Madison Avenue. The software company is partnering with advertising holding company Interpublic Group in a deal that will make Microsoft the go-to ad technology provider for the U.S. offices of ad giant's agencies, including McCann-Erickson, Deutsch, Hill Holliday and The Martin Agency. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., slashed its undisclosed rates, so that its ad server Atlas will become the default technology to deliver ads and analyze their performance.
Even before Apple announced the iPad last week, the Internet was going tablet-crazy. After speculation, literally years in the making, finally came to a crescendo, the public reaction has been decidedly mixed. Discussions about what’s missing and why the announcement was a disappointment have been covered from nearly every angle. However, whether Apple’s iPad ultimately succeeds or fails, it is yet another sign of an emerging device class. With Google (Google), Microsoft, and others investing in researching tablet-style computers, this is a trend that will not begin or end with the iPad.
Aiming to wrest more advertising revenue from online video, several companies, led by ad giant Publicis Groupe and including Microsoft, Yahoo, CBS and Hulu, have spent the past year testing online-ad formats to figure out what consumers want. It turns out they want choice. Tests found that "ad selector," a format that lets online-video watchers pick one of three companies' ads to watch, outscored other ad formats, including the much-maligned "pre-roll" ads that consumers are often required to see before viewing online video clips.
Turns out brands really do matter, particularly when it comes to financial and market performance. According to Millward Brown Optimor, its BrandZ Strong Brands Portfolio -- a group of the top 100 most valuable global brands -- has outpaced the S&P 500. The brand and financial services consultancy says the BrandZ portfolio has gained 36.4% since April 2009 (when the holdings were last reported), compared with the S&P's increase of 31.6% during that same period. "What it shows is that strong brands are a source of competitive advantage for a company," Ove Haxthausen, a partner at Millward Brown Optimor, tells Marketing Daily. "Brands matter because they can and do add value for shareholders."
We all love to hate the evil empire, but let's be fair. Microsoft has humbled itself dramatically, and the company is sincerely trying to do a good job with Bing. The team at Redmond is getting used to their unexpected position as the underdog and, based on my conversation with Weitz, they're beginning to relish the challenge that comes from playing David to Google's Goliath. My quibble, however -- and it's not an insignificant one -- is that Bing needs to step up its differentiation.
BusinessWeek is reporting and solidifying what was previously an almost unthinkable rumor: that Bing might become the default search engine on the iPhone (and iPod Touch). The way BusinessWeek frames it this becomes a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Mobile app stores are likely to get a lot busier this year. Smartphone consumers will spend $6.2 billion on mobile apps in 2010, forecasts Gartner in a recent report, generating ad revenue of around $0.6 billion throughout the world. Downloads will also skyrocket, exceeding 4.5 billion this year. But good news for app users--82 percent of all apps downloaded will be free.
It’s no secret that I do not — repeat, do not — enjoy the design stylings of Microsoft. But that’s like a 5-year-old saying he or she does not like broccoli, except for the fact that not even with age does the Microsoft taste become acquired. Part of these raging feelings against Microsoft are fostered by their applications that defy user-interface standards of comfort and friendliness. Granted, this is mostly for us, designers, for whom the mere sight of an Excel, Word or PowerPoint file can bring us to our knees, as we struggle to find something as natural as the letter-spacing option.
Executives at Microsoft are fond of saying that its subscription gaming service, Xbox Live, should be thought of as a cable channel. They want Xbox to be seen not merely as a gaming machine for teenagers, but as a media portal for parents and grandparents, too. The company is even producing shows for users: it is in the middle of the second season of “1 vs. 100,” an interactive version of a game show that was on NBC. The content ambitions do not end there. Microsoft has held in-depth talks with the Walt Disney Company about a programming deal with ESPN, according to people close to the talks, who requested anonymity because the talks were intended to be private.
A BusinessWeek piece named Apple vs. Google discusses much of the recent competitive business products the two companies have. On page three of that article, there are some analysts who suspect Apple may drop Google, as the default search provider, to Bing.
U.S. government officials and business leaders were supportive but wary of taking sides in Google Inc.'s battle with China, a sign of the delicate tensions between the growing superpower and the West. The White House said it would wait to comment until China responded to Google's threat to bolt from China, over censorship and alleged cyber spying. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke called Google's charge that it and dozens of companies were hacked "troubling" and encouraged China "to work with Google and other U.S. companies to ensure a climate for secure commercial operations in the Chinese market."
What's the most inventive company on the planet? If you judge by sheer volume, it's IBM, which has received more patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office than any other company for 17 years in a row. No. 2 would be Samsung, which has trailed IBM since 2006. But the rankings look different if you measure patents by their value, as Ocean Tomo did at the request of Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The intellectual-property consulting firm sorted through U.S. patents granted to the world's 1,000 biggest companies (by revenue) from 2005 to 2009. Ocean Tomo then assessed the patents' value by tallying, among other things, patent filing trends, litigation rates, and how many times each was cited by other applicants or in scientific and technical journals. The data were aggregated into a patent value index number and ranking.
If you had trouble decoding what was new in Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft's partnership based on Tuesday morning's announcement, you are not alone. Nearly all the time on a conference call with reporters about the news was spent with the press asking for specifics and the companies offering more adjectives than details about the three-year, $250 million deal.
Owners of the Nintendo Wii can finally stop waving their video game controllers in the air and sink back onto the couch. Nintendo is bringing Netflix’s online streaming video service to its Wii gaming console, the most popular in the industry, the companies plan to announce Wednesday. The service lets subscribers choose from a catalog of generally older movies and television shows and watch them instantly.
The technology industry is going retro — moving away from remote controls, mice and joysticks to something that arrives without batteries, wires or a user manual. It’s called a hand. In the coming months, the likes of Microsoft, Hitachi and major PC makers will begin selling devices that will allow people to flip channels on the TV or move documents on a computer monitor with simple hand gestures. The technology, one of the most significant changes to human-device interfaces since the mouse appeared next to computers in the early 1980s, was being shown in private sessions during the immense Consumer Electronics Show here last week.
Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are promoting the idea of advanced digital signs in stores that aren't just for shoppers to look at. These look back. The two technology giants said Monday that they will collaborate to help companies create and use new forms of digital signs. By exploiting Intel chips and Microsoft software, the companies hope to bring more interactivity to such devices and help retailers customized marketing offers to consumers.
A longtime quest to bring the Internet to the living room has entered a new phase, borrowing a page from Apple Inc. and its iPhone. Companies are now racing to build marketplaces for TV programs that act much like iPhone apps, able to interact with social-networking services, play games, call up movies and other Web content—all using a remote control, rather than a computer equipped with browsers. The TV applications are designed to exploit new consumer electronics devices with Internet connections that are beginning to appear in homes in significant numbers.
Microsoft on Wednesday evening positioned itself for a potential war over a new category of touch-screen “tablet” computers as Steve Ballmer, chief executive, anticipated an expected major product announcement from Apple by showing off a version running on Windows software. The Microsoft boss used his speech at the opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to highlight the product, made by Hewlett-Packard.
Kia Motors America and Microsoft Corp. are forming a partnership to equip Kia vehicles with a system that drivers and passengers can use to make phone calls and control the car's audio system using voice commands. The hands-free system, called UVO, will be offered in several Kia Motors Corp. vehicles by the end of the year, according to the auto maker. The first vehicle to offer it will be the 2011 Kia Sorento crossover, likely to be out around July.
Google’s expected unveiling on Tuesday of a rival to the iPhone is part of its careful plan to try to do what few other technology companies have done before: retain its leadership as computing shifts from one generation to the next. The rapid emergence of the smartphone as a versatile computing device may be as much a challenge as an opportunity for Google, which built its multibillion-dollar empire largely on the sale of small text ads linked to search queries typed on PCs.
Reasons to feel bearish about Microsoft aren't hard to find. But it's the software giant's diminishing profile in the mobile world that is the talk of Silicon Valley right now. The explosion of mobile applications on devices like Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid presages far-reaching changes in consumer behavior. Google gets that. Aside from helping develop the Android mobile operating system, the company plans to buy mobile ad firm AdMob. And now it is working on plans to sell its own phone. It's a different story at Microsoft.
What’s the future of videogame controllers? Microsoft is betting that it’s no controller at all. The company’s new Xbox 360 interface, codenamed Project Natal, uses a depth sensor, directional microphones, and a lo-res camera to read your gestures — grip an imaginary steering wheel, for instance, to control a car onscreen. The technology is bound to be a game-changer, so we asked three industry visionaries what kinds of games they’d design for it.
General Motors Co. named Microsoft Corp.'s outgoing finance chief, Chris Liddell, as its chief financial officer and vice chairman, the car maker's latest move in an ongoing executive shake-up under its new chairman and chief executive. Mr. Liddell replaces Ray Young, who is moving to the company's international operations in Shanghai. Mr. Liddell, who will take over in early 2010, joins the auto maker about a month after resigning from Microsoft to pursue an opportunity with wider responsibilities—and the potential to ascend to a chief executive post.
Ford Motor Co. is working to offer drivers a way to upgrade the electronics in their vehicles, much the same way they can add applications to their iPhones and BlackBerrys. The car maker hopes to persuade software developers to tap the Internet service, GPS location-finding capability and digital-music setup already found in its Sync entertainment-and-communications system, which it developed with Microsoft Corp. Such applications, or "apps," might do such things as give directions to every espresso shop along a highway open after 9 p.m., or allow friends to follow one another to a location through a GPS process called "breadcrumbing."
European regulators dropped their antitrust case against Microsoft on Wednesday after the software maker agreed to offer consumers a choice of rival Web browsers. The settlement averted a second costly legal battle for the American software giant. The agreement, announced in Brussels by the European competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, calls for Microsoft to give Windows users a choice of up to 11 other browsers from competing companies, including Mozilla, Apple and Google.
Back in the good old days, Microsoft did desktops, Google stuck to search and Apple made toys for people in polo necks. No more. The superpowers of the technology world are at war, and like real wars, the battle is happening on several fronts. They're fighting on the desktop, they're fighting on mobile phones, they're fighting in the browser and they're fighting in your front room. Who will prevail, and who will end up in a bunker?
Mark Anderson is the writer behind the Strategic News Service, a predictive newsletter with a wide following among technology executives and venture capitalists, which he publishes from the island redoubt of Friday Harbor, Wash. And each December, he comes to New York, hosts a dinner and delivers a set of forecasts for the coming year. The dinner was at the Waldorf-Astoria on Thursday night, but I caught up with Mr. Anderson earlier for a preview of his after-dinner performance. One of his predictions, in particular, caught my attention. “Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market,” he said. “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.”
AOL is on its own. After seven months of preparation, AOL is set to be officially independent of media giant Time Warner Inc., closing the book on their disastrous 2001 merger and opening a new chapter for the struggling Internet company. AOL Inc. will be a slimmer, more focused company, preparing to battle against Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. in the $29 billion U.S. market for online advertising. It is betting on a strategy centered on becoming the top creator of news, information, entertainment and other digital content.
Microsoft’s top search technology executive on Wednesday all but dismissed the likelihood that the company would pay newspaper owners and other publishers for removing their content from Google. His comments came a week after it emerged that Microsoft had been in talks over a News Corp-led initiative that would have paid publishers to leave Google as a way to boost Microsoft’s own search engine, Bing.
When a media industry insider last week floated the idea of an exclusive deal to list News Corp. content on Microsoft’s Bing search engine, stiffing Google in the process, it drew some predictable responses. Bloggers and technology analysts crowed that Rupert Murdoch, News Corp.’s septuagenarian chief executive, had conclusively proved that he just didn’t understand the Internet. Some people in the newspaper business said hooray for Uncle Rupert, standing up for the value of old-fashioned content and telling the geeks with their algorithms to get lost. Google, meanwhile, made the reassuring noises it does anytime anyone raises the possibility that its goals, and those of the media companies whose content it indexes, might not be 100 percent aligned. Google said it provided news organizations’ Web sites with 100,000 clicks a minute, every one of which “offers a business opportunity for the publishers to show ads, win loyal readers and sell subscriptions.”
The Empire always strikes back. Every revolution inspires a counter-revolution. Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance didn't win independence overnight — and neither, it seems, will the www. Microsoft is negotiating with News Corp to pay it to remove its content from Google's index. Uh-oh: the Empire — industrial-era business as usual — is striking back. Will the rebels be crushed? Not a chance. Blocking Google is about as smart as eating a pound of plutonium. Here's why MicroFox is making a big mistake.
News Corp. is considering blocking Google’s search engine from displaying its news articles and is talking to Microsoft Corp. about displaying stories on its Bing site, people familiar with the situation said yesterday. MediaNews Group Inc., the Post’s publisher, will block Google News when it starts charging readers in Pennsylvania and California for online content next year, Chief Executive Officer Dean Singleton said in an interview. Morning News owner A.H. Belo Corp. may also introduce online subscription fees and also block Google, Executive Vice President James Moroney said.
News that Microsoft is delaying the much-heralded launch of its Bing search engine till at least quarter 1 of next year shows how hard it is for a "follower brand" to take on a strong leader brand, in this case Google. Bing has been available in the UK since June of this year, although it has not had any marketing activity. So far, it has less then 5% market share, compared to 90% for Google (combining the .co.uk and .com sites). My guess is that even with marketing support Bing will struggle to get more than 15-20% market share at most. Why?
Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.
The run-of-the-mill holiday sweepstakes is getting a social twist with the addition of sharing features brands hope will extend their reach. Brands like Microsoft, Sephora, Nascar and Comcast have kicked off Twitter sweepstakes promotions this month, in the hopes of luring customers into chatting up their brands on the hot social network.
Google stole the tech and media spotlight today as it revealed a mountain of new details about Chrome OS, the company’s new operating system due in late 2010. It is a completely different type of OS (we provide a summary of how) that eliminates the desktop and focuses on getting you on the web quickly and efficiently. Now that we’ve had some time to digest Chrome OS and get information on all some of the details, it’s time to ask the big questions in order to understand if or how Chrome OS could change the world. What is Google’s eventual goal with Chrome OS? How will it affect Microsoft? And finally, what impact will Chrome OS have on the world?
Microsoft's in-house dev team revealed an experimental tool called Pivot, a whole new dynamic way of interacting with data on the Web and on your PC. Will it change everything? Maybe not, but it is a sign of the way things will go. Pivot combines the ideas behind web-browsing, web search, image organizing and text information into one big data soup that has some clever graphical tools to help you sift through it for the information you're interested in finding. To extend that analogy further, Pivot's real power is that it lets you see the whole data soup at once, stir it around to see new details within it, or zoom right in to see some of the individual ingredients.
'Tis the season to diss Apple in some very creative and entertaining ways. I'm just not sure whether it's a sign of strategic marketing insight, or fishbowl-like confusion of message over meaning. First came Microsoft's "I'm a PC" campaigns, with its snippets of slice-of-life everypeople declaring their stereotypical lifestyles, and then shoppers explaining how they'd first looked at an Apple but then chose a PC because it was a better value. I'm all for comparison ads but the nonsense of contrasting PC-ness with Apple-ness is kind of silly.
Microsoft Windows continues to dominate the PC market with a 90 percent market-share stronghold, but when it comes to smartphones, Microsoft is getting beat up worse than a mustachioed villain in a Jackie Chan movie. Windows Mobile has lost nearly a third of its smartphone market share since 2008, research firm Gartner reports. Windows Mobile had 11 percent of the global smartphone market in the third quarter of 2008, according to Gartner, and last quarter Windows Mobile’s market share plummeted to 7.9 percent. Meanwhile, Apple’s global market share grew from 12.9 percent to 17.1 percent, and RIM saw a rise from 16 percent to 20.8 percent, according to Gartner’s figures.
Microsoft Windows 7's launch video was a viral smash. And while some believed it was because people thought "HostingYourParty" was a riotously bad -- Microsoft is enjoying the last laugh. Still, despite the negative attention directed at the instructional video, which was intended for people hosting Windows 7 "house parties," the tech giant managed to reach a lot of consumers. In fact, from Oct. 22-29, more than 800,000 people attended more than 10,000 parties in 12 countries hosted by Windows 7.
In a push to expand its digital advertising empire to cellphones, Google has agreed to acquire AdMob, a fast-growing mobile advertising start-up, for $750 million in stock, the companies said Monday. AdMob is one of the top sellers of banner ads on iPhone applications and Web pages that can be retrieved from mobile phones. The acquisition could help establish Google as an early leader in the small but rapidly expanding mobile phone advertising business.
A few years ago, I interviewed usability expert Jakob Nielsen about where search might go in the future. He shared an interesting insight:"I think there is a tendency now for a lot of not very useful results to be dredged up that happen to be very popular, like Wikipedia and various blogs. They're not going to be very useful or substantial to people who are trying to solve problems." That stuck with me. Relevance, as determined by search algorithms, and usefulness are not the same thing. And then, John Battelle touched on the same topic in a blog post a few months back: "So first, how would I like to decide about my quest to buy a classic car? Well, ideally, I'd have a search application that could automate and process the tedious back and forth required to truly understand what the market looks like."
Last week was big for Twitter. After years of speculation about whether the company was going to have a business model, Twitter announced two deals at our Web2 conference - first with Microsoft's Bing, and second with Google. Details of the deals were not disclosed, but as Google's Marissa Mayers admitted onstage, there were indeed financial terms.
Microsoft Corporation regularly asks PC users for feedback about its products. But after the debacle with Vista, the operating system nobody liked, the company and its advertising agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, realized that the concept of consumers as an intrinsic part of the development process could be an effective selling point for the Vista replacement, Windows 7. And so was born a campaign, getting under way on Thursday in six countries, carrying the theme “I’m a PC and Windows 7 was my idea.”
Back-to-back deals on Wednesday to make the company’s steady stream of posts available to Microsoft and Google’s search engines may point to a potential new source of cash. How large, however, is not known. The terms of the deals were not disclosed and Evan Williams, Twitter’s chief executive, said in an interview that revenue was “not the focus of the deals.” Microsoft said it did not plan to put ads on its Twitter search service for now, and Google said ads might appear at a later date. The deals represent the latest evidence of the intense interest in what is known as the real-time Web — the constant stream of posts and updates on Twitter, Facebook and similar services. Unlike traditional Web pages and blogs, that real-time information has not been easily integrated by search engines.
As trained observers of how people in a society live, ethnographers can help companies figure out what people need and then work with designers to meet those needs with new (or more often tweaked) products and services. In a world in which ever more people are using technology products on a daily basis, such skills are increasingly in demand. For ethnographers, anthropologists, and other social scientists, the upshot can be intriguing work around the globe.
How much do you trust your digital life? Has the fear of identity theft or bank card fraud dampened your trust in digital services? You're not alone. As the digital world permeates more and more aspects of our lifestyle, protecting our digital lives is more important than ever. Researchers at Microsoft, Nokia, Philips and digital security company Gemalto recently announced the launch of a new initiative that aims to set out how consumers and businesses can do just that. Called Trust in Digital Life Partnership, their vision is to address “the fundamental societal issue of trust in new and emerging digital services.”
2009 was a bad year for online advertising, too. This year figures to be the first down year for online ads since 2002, the hangover from the internet-bubble years.Spending on online advertising is expected to come in at $22.8 billion in 2009 in the U.S., down 2.9% from a year ago, due to steep declines in sponsorships, classifieds and e-mail advertising, according to a projection from eMarketer issued today. Banner ads were virtually flat with 2008. The lone bright spot: search, which will grow 4% overall, proving itself the most resilient and counter-cyclical form of online marketing. Video also grew, but it's still too small a category to make a difference in the overall numbers.
You didn't think Google was going to take the Microsoft-Yahoo search deal lying down, did you? The Mountain View, Calif.-based giant hasn't taken an official position on the proposed deal, but it is quietly disseminating a view to regulators, politicians, analysts and journalists: that the need for scale is not a valid case for approving Microsoft's search deal with Yahoo. This, of course, is the core argument in favor of the deal: that Microsoft and Yahoo cannot compete effectively against Google in search on their own and that their deal would make the search market itself more competitive.
If the ad campaigns on this week's viral video chart look familiar, they should: They've all been here before. In fact, many of them have been on the chart for a long time. The longest-running campaign, Cadbury's "Eyebrow Dance," is celebrating its 26th week on the chart and the second-longest, T-Mobile "Dance" is marking its 25th week. Microsoft's "Project Natal," meanwhile, is on for its 18th week in a row. Evian's "Rollerbabies" is on for the 13th straight week. Only three videos are new enough to be celebrating their second week in a row: Microsoft's Windows "Launch Party" video, Trend Micro's "Fearless Web" spot and MoveOn.org's "Protect Insurance Agencies" campaign. As you can imagine, it's quite a feat to add enough growth week after week to continue to maintain a presence.
The Mac vs. PC war hasn't just played out on TV. It's also the biggest brand battle in social media. For the month ended Sept. 25, Apple and Microsoft finished in the top two spots of the Social Radar Sentiment Index, a social-media analysis of Advertising Age's 200 Megabrands by Infegy. The firm tracks more than 20 million web pages, including all the leading social-media sites, and bases its index on comment volume, percentage of positive mentions and percentage of overall brand mentions within social-media that showed signs of sentiment.
Anyone who has followed Apple news/rumors/patents over the past couple of years has probably noticed a certain trend emerging: Apple seems to be slowly shifting its entire line of products to touch-based computing. That is to say, it’s moving its products away from buttons and keys, towards manipulation through a touchscreen interface. While obviously, MacBook trackpads have used some level of touch for a long time, this trend really started with the iPhone, which presented the first excellent use of multi-touch in a consumer device. From there, Apple slowly began adding multi-touch support to the aforementioned notebook trackpads, to the point where they all now feature it. And then of course, there’s the iPod touch, which is an iPod with multi-touch support. But where things really start to get interesting is when you look at Apple’s patents and the rumors that spin out of them.
Microsoft wants marketers to see it in a different light -- not only as an ad seller but as a smart company full of geeks who can help it solve business problems. And the tech giant is using social media to prove it can do so. Today Microsoft is taking the wraps off a new platform called Looking Glass, a social-media aggregator and monitoring tool that's still in "proof of concept" stage, meaning it's not yet in the market and will be open to a very small group of testers next month. The idea is to connect social-media-monitoring tools to the rest of a marketer's organization -- customer databases, work orders, customer-service centers and sales data.
A video took the web by storm today entitled “Incredible, amazing, awesome Apple.” Basically, it boils down Apple’s latest event into a series of superlatives. It’s a funny video because Apple really does have a pattern of using these types of words over and over again in its demonstrations. Cynics will say this is how Apple brainwashes the masses into buying their products, and gets people jazzed about the tiniest features. But I think there’s something much deeper here. While certainly there is some element of hearing something so many times that you start to believe it, that’s nothing new, any good salesman will do the same thing. But why I think the tactic works so well with Apple is because they actually believe what they’re saying.
Even before the age of Mad Men marketers have been trying to tap into the human subconscious to influence consumers to buy their products. But over the last decade or so, as the fields of neuroscience and marketing science (as some like to call it) have evolved, the area of Neuromarketing has emerged. Today more companies are investing in the technology and studies. Neuromarketing blogs (Roger Dooley) and books (Buyology) are being accorded more attention and legitimacy. Nielsen's recent investment in researcher NeuroFocus has increased the influence and credibility of neuromarketing. However, the field is young and a bit like the wild west. And many in and out of marketing have raised concerns about the reliability and ethicality of neuromarketing. What is Neuromarketing?
Yahoo! is searching for a better image. Eager to remind Internet users and marketers that Yahoo! is a powerhouse brand, the company next week plans to kick off a marketing blitz that is likely to include TV, online and print ads. It will discuss the campaign next Tuesday during Advertising Week in New York City. Yahoo! aims to remind marketers that, while it's not the No. 1 populated site, it still grabs 578 million unique visitors per month. The goal: to gain a bigger share of the estimated $21 billion that will be spent this year on display ads.
FOR years, Microsoft was the stodgy market leader. It sold 90 percent of the world’s operating system software, and generally left the advertising to Dell, H.P. and other hardware makers who licensed Windows. The only time Microsoft hawked its most recognizable brand on television was when the latest version of the software hit the shelves. Then the company flooded the airwaves with commercials full of loud music and swirling imagery saying that the new version of Windows is out — and that it’s awesome! Apple is the classic smaller insurgent. Its share for desktops and laptops in the United States is just over 8 percent. Every time Apple grabs another point of market share from Microsoft’s partners, its stock price climbs. And one way that Apple has tried to gain share is by running clever ads that ridicule everything Microsoft stands for.
The elevator speech. It's one of the prerequisites of business development. In the time you can spend with someone on a 30-second ride, how do you describe your business? For established brands, the elevator speech is not so much a speech but a word. For brands like Google, Microsoft, and Apple, you can quickly get from brand name to association in a word. Let's play the game together, in your head or on paper. Google? Microsoft? Apple? Got your word?
Yahoo! may have thrown in the towel on the business of searching for information online. But the company is doubling down on a technology where it already has the lead over search king Google: in free e-mail service offered over the Web.
Every year, the market-research firm Millward Brown conducts a survey to determine the economic worth of the world's brands — in other words, to put a dollar value on the many corporate logos that dominate our lives. Lately the firm's results have been stuck on repeat: Google has claimed the top spot for the past three years. The most recent report values Google's brand — those six happy letters that herald so many of our jaunts down the Web's rabbit hole — at more than $100 billion. What's astonishing about this stat is how effortlessly Google seems to have earned the public's affection. Other companies — Microsoft, Coke, IBM, McDonald's — spend enormous sums to stay in the consciousness. Google, which makes most of its money from ads, rarely advertises itself. Telling the world how well it does what it does just isn't Google's way.
If this were a column about religious affairs, I would undoubtedly focus this week on the shocking news that Beelzebub himself has joined a coalition opposing child abuse in the Catholic church. But this isn’t a column about religious affairs, so I’m not going to discuss that. Instead, as this is a column (broadly) about technology, I’ll confine myself to the entirely unrelated news that Microsoft is joining a coalition to oppose Google’s settlement with the US publishing industry over Book Search. I’ll also touch on the totally unanalogous fact that they’re funding a New York Law School investigation into their biggest rival’s anti-competitive behaviour.
Some pundits talk about Internet users having a “Google habit” that keeps them hooked on Google and keeps Google the No. 1 Internet search engine. That habit is far from harmful, and consumers don’t feel a need to kick it for a simple reason: Google gives them what they want.
Boston, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago will be getting a month-long billboard ad campaign starting for this week, with one simple message: If you want to escape Microsoft's expensive grip, switch to Google.
Yahoo's long nightmare is over, having finally offloaded its search business to Microsoft after years of rumors, negotiations and reversals. Now all it has to do is figure out what comes next. A new era at Yahoo began the minute CEO Carol Bartz signed the paperwork turning over the right to conduct searches on Yahoo's huge network of Web sites to Microsoft in exchange for 88 percent of the revenue generated by Microsoft's Bing. Now Yahoo is first and foremost a media company, in the business of attracting as many people to its properties as possible in hopes of selling lucrative ad deals on those pages.
Microsoft Corp.'s deal to join forces with Yahoo Inc. in the Internet search and advertising businesses could create a counterweight to the online muscle of Google Inc. It may also help Steve Ballmer end the worst slump in his career at the helm of Microsoft.
Microsoft and Google's increasingly captivating competitive dance took another turn on July 29 with the announcement of a search partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo. The deal could create a viable competitor to Google--or even more enticingly build very different kinds of growth businesses.
After years of foreplay, Microsoft and Yahoo have made it official: They're cozying up in bed together. The major beneficiary will be Bing--it'll usurp Yahoo search, boosting its Google rivalry power.
Why should we fear Google? There's an easy, obvious answer to that, particularly if you're a media or marketing person: because Google is killing us. It is, duh, blatantly steamrollering the business models of countless business sectors, from Madison Avenue to print media. (Despite all the Bing hype, it appears that Microsoft's refreshed search engine -- er, decision engine -- isn't making a dent in Google's dominance.) Annoyingly, it's a cute monopoly -- with a cute logo, a cute motto ("Don't be evil"), cute executives and a cute corporate culture -- that bewitches a lot of people into somehow doubting that it's a monopoly, and prompts even otherwise cynical media people to be unnecessarily polite about it.
A highly detailed proposal for Microsoft's stores leaked online late Friday afternoon, and if it's real, Redmond's first foray into retail appears to be following the usual Microsoft formula: Roll up the best ideas of others and muscle their way into our wallets, if not our hearts. If you weren't already depressed about the state of retail, Microsoft isn't peddling the ailment that'll cure us.
Following a complaint from Apple, Microsoft has quietly tweaked at least one of the ads in its "Laptop Hunters" campaign to reflect its rival's lower pricing on its Mac notebooks.
“Our goal is not to build the most computers. It’s to build the best.” That was Apple COO Tim Cook two days ago during Apple’s quarterly earnings call. Sure, it may sound like spin from an executive who doesn’t have a better answer as to why Apple isn’t competing in the low-end of the market, and thus, gaining market share. But it’s not.
We live in a beta culture. A Google search of the word “beta” retrieves 399 million articles. That’s more articles than the words “innovation” (108 million), “creative” (78 million), and “finish” (30 million) combined. Even “startup," which is a slightly more formal definition of “beta," only links to 325 million articles. So what’s our obsession, particularly in the Internet business, with the beta ideal?
Perhaps nothing better illustrates how far behind Microsoft is in the search engine wars than a recent comment by the company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, about why he liked the name Bing for Microsoft’s new competitor to Google.
It's been just over six weeks since the birth of Bing. While I didn't actually say Microsoft's new search baby was ugly, I was less than optimistic about its chances of unseating Google in a popularity contest. So, with every measurement panel carefully following Bing's debut, I think it's time to see just how the little engine is doing in the search (oops, make that "decision") sandbox.
In late May, Microsoft unveiled Bing, its new Internet search engine, in front of an audience of skeptics: technology executives and other digerati who had gathered near San Diego for an industry conference. To that crowd, Microsoft’s efforts to take on Google and Yahoo in the search business had become something of a laughingstock, and for good reason.
It’s too early to say Microsoft has checkmated Google in online documents – the latest version of Office hasn’t shipped yet. But the sleeping giant in Redmond has clearly woken up to the Internet threat. Get this: Microsoft – the king of paid software – will announce today that it is going to give a version of Office away for free online.
Google shook up the tech world this week by announcing it's developing a PC operating system based on its Chrome Web browser. The Chrome OS will hit the market in 2010—at first it will be available only on low-power netbook machines, but eventually, Google says, you'll see Chrome on all kinds of laptops and desktops.
The announcement of Google's Chrome OS plan puts an exclamation point on the challenge faced by Microsoft, but actually doesn't really change the core threat to Microsoft. In short, Google is aiming to render desktop software irrelevant. To thwart them, Microsoft needs Windows to do things that a browser can't--or do the same things significantly better.
Is Google’s OS the end of the OS – the long-predicted moment when Google and the web take over the PC? Or is it merely the disruptive OS throwing marbles on the floor for Microsoft and to some extent Apple and the software industry? Or will it be a platform and boon for app developers and PC makers and cloud companies? Or all of the above? Yes.
It's not like there was much doubt that Google was taking full aim at Microsoft's empire, but the announcement of the planned Chrome OS takes that competition to a new level.
Microsoft is dipping its toes into the hot new area of real-time search. The company said Wednesday that Bing, the search engine it unveiled a month ago, would begin including the latest output of popular Twitter users in its search results.
There are many ways to slice and dice search query intent: Navigation vs. browsing. Entertainment vs. information. Commercial vs. non-commercial.
Advertising agencies and Internet companies once viewed each other as foes, but are now coming together to harness the potential for online advertising. Like many other segments, online ad spending has slowed from its previous breakneck pace during the deep recession, forcing companies to devise new ways to chase fewer dollars.
Google handles roughly two-thirds of all Internet searches. It owns the largest online video site, YouTube, which is more than 10 times more popular than its nearest competitor. And last year, Google sold nearly $22 billion in advertising, more than any media company in the world.
Bing gets to the point quicker more often than Google. Search engine query results are organized better by a series of filter options and a more welcoming design, according to a report released Thursday from Catalyst Group.
Years after cracking the very code of the Web to lucrative ends, Google may be in the midst of trying to conjure the most complicated algorithm yet: to wit, can goodness, or at least a stated intention not to be evil, scale along with the enterprise?
Micro-blogging phenomenon Twitter Inc. hasn't figured out how to make money, but that hasn't stopped Web giants Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. from racing to establish real-time search capabilities. The growth of Twitter has fueled expectations that real-time search could drive Internet advertising to new heights by allowing marketers to target relevant ads at consumers interested in breaking events, hot topics or their favorite celebrities. Some proponents argue real-time data and search could develop into a billion-dollar market.
Microsoft is often referred to in the tech industry as "the ultimate platform player," because its considerable fortune has been earned by dominating platforms, most notably the Windows platform that most of the world's PCs use. Lately it has been adding platforms, notably Xbox, which has morphed from a games platform to an interactive device capable of serving all varieties of content, including streaming videos and access to social networking sites and services, and it continues to develop its Windows Mobile platform, whose latest iteration is version 6.5.
Despite all the bling that has been spent on Bing, few people are giving Microsoft's new search engine much chance of stealing away even a fraction of Google's dominant market share. That makes sense when you consider the strength of Google's brand - the term 'Google' has become the verb for undertaking an online search. The brand, we are reliably told, is now the world's most valuable, with an equity of more than $100bn.
Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has been talking a lot over the past two weeks about Yahoo and how it competes against Google and Microsoft. Each time she does, I feel like she’s digging the hole even deeper for Yahoo’s prospects in search. Rather than communicate a clear search strategy — which you’d better have if you’re in a war against Google and Microsoft — she resonates mixed messages that Yahoo can ill afford to send.
Microsoft is hoping, of course, that Bing will wipe out Google's dominance in one fell swoop. That, next month, their $80 million ad campaign will cause their 8% market share to morph into 80%. That they'll finally be able to put that pesky Google decade behind them. They won't, of course. They won't because they seem to be forgetting some key fundamentals of the space in which they operate.
I want to Bing. I want to be Binged. I want to hear the Binging bells from a million laptops ringing the news that there might be an alternative to Google's dominant bong. So I was only too delighted to hear that two TV ads have already emerged to do the Binging ringing.
That's THE question to ask: Will our advertising effect consumer actions, and not simply awareness, perceptions and attitudes? But, there's a follow on question to ask: Once advertising has moved someone to experience our brand, will said experience cause them to change their habits? To become a "customer?"
In seeking to make the new search engine Bing as much a part of the popular culture as “bada bing,” Bing Crosby or Stanley Bing, Microsoft is buying prominent placement for bing.com inside television shows and the online video hub Hulu.
I seem to be in the minority. Everybody (including fellow Search Insider Aaron Goldman) seems to be jumping on the Bing bandwagon. It's generated some good initial reviews, and Aaron goes as far as to say, "Bing is far and away the most serious challenge to Google that anyone's ever posed."
Microsoft's first TV ad for Bing, its new search engine, breaks today, and it's nothing if not dramatic. The 60-second spot, titled "Manifesto," mentions being "lost in the links" in the same breath as bank bailouts and the collapse of the financial market.
Reaching out beyond hardcore video game players to everyday consumers, Microsoft outlined an entertainment strategy on Monday for making the company’s Xbox 360 game console a gateway for movies, television and social networking.
From Google Wave to Susan Boyle, social media has been in full swing this week. Both Google and Microsoft decided to launch new products, while the social media starlet Boyle sang her heart out on the finale of Britain’s Got Talent. There has been no shortage of social media buzz.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled Bing.com to the public on Thursday, as expected, at the All Things D conference in San Diego. It will go live worldwide by June 3. But if Microsoft has come up with a clear improvement over Live.com — the also-ran search portal that Bing replaces — it doesn’t quite go far enough to make us feel that it’s time to dump Google.
Microsoft is searching for an answer to a tough problem. That problem is Live.com, which many may not even know is Microsoft’s search engine. While it’s not technically bad, it’s far from being the leading search engine –handling less than ten percent of all searches in the U.S.
Microsoft has used attack ads to go after Apple, and now it has Google in its sights.
Apple may have some of the most interesting online ads we've seen in a while, but Microsoft's recent push to paint the competitor as pricey is starting to work, according to data from BrandIndex.
For decades, the nation’s biggest antitrust cases have centered on technology companies. And they have all been efforts by the government to deal with powerful companies with far-reaching influence, like AT&T, the telephone monopoly; I.B.M., the mainframe computer giant; and Microsoft, the powerhouse of personal computer software. Last week, the Obama administration declared a sharp break with the Bush years, vowing to toughen antitrust enforcement, especially for dominant companies. The approach is closer to that of the European Union, where regulators last week fined Intel $1.45 billion for abusing its power in the chip market.
The latest Laptop Hunters ad in the famous series features pre-law student Lauren and her mom, Sue. They are looking for speed, portability and battery life, and a few opportunities to slap down Macs.
Microsoft is continuing its attacks on Apple products as overpriced with a new Web campaign for its Zune portable media player. In a Web video, financial planner and former reality show star Wes Moss presents the case that the 120GB iPod would cost $30,000 to fill with music buying songs at $1 each at the iTunes Store. "People worry about the capacity of their iPod," Moss says in the 30-second spot. "What about the capacity of their bank account?"
Microsoft will argue against a European Commission proposal that it promote competing browsers in its Windows operating system on the ground that such a move would strengthen its rival Google’s dominance in the global search-advertising market, according to a person with direct knowledge of Microsoft’s legal defense.
If you think Google, Microsoft and Apple are bad-ass, cutthroat, take-no-prisoner companies, you should meet the nation’s wireless carriers, who have collectively convinced those intensively competitive software giants to cripple their products. Need any more proof that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile - have too much control over the airwaves, what phones you can use and what applications you can run on them?
Facebook tried to buy Twitter. Google and Microsoft have been giving the red-hot Internet-messaging startup the eye. But we hear it's Apple that's closest to sealing a deal, possibly for as much as $700 million.
Microsoft is in talks with Verizon Wireless to launch a touch-screen cellphone on the carrier's network early next year, in a bid to compete with Apple's iPhone.
Microsoft on Thursday (April 23) presented a handful of new online series concepts to a gathering of media buyers on hand for the company’s second annual digital showcase event at Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York, as the company’s sales executives looked to send a clear message that Web video is core to the software giant’s ongoing media strategy.
Microsoft’s revenues fell for the first time in its 34-year history in the opening months of this year, bringing an end to one of the most dramatic uninterrupted growth stories in modern business, according to figures released on Thursday.
For the first time in its history, Microsoft saw a year-over-year quarterly revenue drop -- and it predicts a "long and gradual" recovery. Quarterly revenue fell 6% in its fiscal third quarter to $13.65 billion from the year-earlier quarter. Profit also took a hit, down 32% to $2.98 billion and 33 cents per share.
For 25 years, Microsoft held unquestioned dominance in the personal computer business. But last year the maker of the Windows operating system started to look like a weary, vulnerable champ. Fueled by iPhone-mania and the iconic "I'm a Mac" TV ads, Apple was nearing a double-digit share of the PC market. At the same time, a new generation of sub-$500 "netbooks" that ran on the free Linux operating system was taking off. Now, Microsoft has launched a determined counteroffensive.
Not so long ago, innovation was a must-do priority for business. Now research and development might seem more like vacation homes and new cars—luxuries that will have to wait for better times. In an annual survey of top executives by Boston Consulting Group, which provides the foundation of BusinessWeek's Most Innovative Companies list, more respondents said that innovation spending will be flat or down than since the ranking began in 2005. But recession and market meltdown aside, many on the 2009 ranking are finding ways to forge ahead.
The third of the laptop hunter ads shows a mom and a kid, shopping for a computer under $1500. And yes, the clip takes yet another dump on Macs.
Not so many columns ago, I urged Microsoft to do something amazing in search. Last week, they did. But it wasn't in a good way. I was on the road last week, and I saw three different things land in my inbox about Microsoft and its search efforts. With each email, my frustration mounted. Finally, Friday as I was sitting in Seattle airport, I couldn't contain myself anymore. I sent an email to the most senior person I knew at Microsoft Search. The gist of the email was "don't do it," Yesterday, I got an email back thanking me for my "honest" feedback. Yet somehow, I don't think it will make a difference.
After years of being defined by Apple, Microsoft is fighting back and somewhat surprisingly, landing some punches. The company’s latest round of ads featuring real consumers named Lauren and Giampalo trying to buy laptops for less than $1,000 and $1,500, respectively, seems to have struck a chord.
Microsoft's new Lauren is a tech-savvy engineer with a complicated, foreign name, tasked with finding a laptop that'll address his needs for under $1,500. You'll never guess what this Microsoft-paid probable-actor decided to buy.
Can Microsoft market its way out of the search basement? Probably not, but it's going to try, entrusting roster agency JWT to craft a campaign for its new search engine, alternately dubbed Kumo or Project Kiev or Live Search, depending on who's talking about it.
How better to launch the third day of the Advertising Research Foundation annual conference in New York on innovation than with a digital scientist who lost the biggest innovation war on the Web -- that of search.
Microsoft Corp. said it plans to shut down its Encarta encyclopedia, in the wake of pressures that include the growth of Wikipedia and other free reference sites.
Once again Microsoft’s ad strategy is off-base. Their newest ad criticizes Apple for being expensive by “documenting” one woman’s quest to find a laptop that meets her needs for under $1000.
By now you've probably seen Microsoft's latest ad featuring Lauren, a woman who claims to be neither cool nor rich enough for a MacBook. Well Lauren, one of our readers has a gift for you. Mitch Gewirtz of Michigan would like to give you his 17-inch PowerBook. For free.
With the recession as its backdrop, Microsoft has finally jumped on the value-messaging bandwagon in a new ad, a 60-second spot dubbed "Laptop Hunters" that will break tonight during the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament.
Research in Motion will soon launch an online store to rival Apple's, with Nokia and Microsoft to follow.
Google's Street View app, alongside Google Earth, has ever-so-slightly changed the world--buying a house may never be the same again, for one thing, nor will smartphone-based navigation. And that's probably why another tech giant wants in on the same action. Microsoft's apparently due to have a go with its own application dubbed GeoSynth.
How will Twitter make money? It’s a question that’s asked constantly as the microblogging service continues its stratospheric ascent. Some third parties are already experimenting with business models, creating a situation where these sites have monetized before TwitterTwitter reviewsTwitter reviews itself (MashableMashable reviewsMashable reviews, for instance, launched the Twitter Brand Sponsors ad format earlier this month). Today, the ad network Federated Media is taking a shot at making money from Twitter; FM has launched ExecTweets, a site that aggregates Tweets from business executives. The site is sponsored by Microsoft.
So we're supposed to believe Microsoft actually has a better brand than Apple?
Watch out, Starbucks, Pepsi and Microsoft: Your brand power is waning.
Microsoft and its partners are reaping big rewards from the $300 million Windows marketing campaign. That's my conclusion after reviewing February U.S. retail PC sales data released by NPD on March 16. Apple's steep U.S. retail sales declines continued in February, comparatively worse than January's already dismal showing. Meanwhile, Windows PC sales continued their recent year-over-year growth rally.
Microsoft’s latest viral video, which uses the creative theme “Pretending to work,” was actually created by a group of workaholic freelancers who did it on the weekends.
It's a big deal when a major corporation pledges to cut its carbon footprint--every detail of energy and transportation use needs to be taken into account--and it's an even bigger deal when a company as large as Microsoft says that it will reduce its carbon footprint by 30% compared to 2007 levels in the next three years. The company hasn't provided details on its 2007 carbon emissions, but it's safe to assume that Microsoft will be making some serious changes.
Wal-Mart announced that it's joining the digital medical records race. With Obama designating $19 billion of the stimulus package to digitizing this leap, it's no wonder the most powerful retailer in the world has decided to join the ranks of the most powerful tech companies--including Google, Microsoft and IBM--to solve this behemoth challenge, as well as try to cash in.
Like a plus-sized dress on a skinny runway model, Windows just doesn't fit when it's loaded on a netbook.
Microsoft and its longtime partner, Intel, have accelerated their exploration of new computing fields. Last week at its headquarters near Seattle, Microsoft showed off a host of software systems built to power futuristic games, medical devices, teaching tools and even smart elevators. And this week, Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, will elaborate on plans to extend its low-power Atom chip from laptops to cars, robots and home security systems.
If I encountered Craig Mundie on the street, met his kind but humorless gaze and heard that slight southern drawl, I'd guess he was a golf pro—certainly not Microsoft's Chief of the future. Mundie is a living portal of future technology, a focal point between thousands of scattered research projects and the boxes of super-neat products we'll be playing with 5 years, 20 years, maybe 100 years from now.
AT&T wants to give aspiring musicians a chance to realize their dreams. With help from Microsoft, the telecom carrier has launched the Lips Open Mic Contest, named after the Xbox game, Lips. The grand prize winner's song will be turned into a free downloadable karaoke tune for the Xbox 360 game and an original score for the Zune MP3 player.
So what is effective brand building in the new digital world? What is the best way to prime the pump? As I started to think about that, I realized the answer depends on the nature of the brand to be built. And, as I was chewing that over, the Microsoft story hit my inbox and I realized that it captured the essence of two distinct characters of brand: promise and religion. These two characters of brand occupy two totally different places in our mindscape, and so have to be treated differently, no matter what branding channel you choose to use.
President Obama used it to get elected. Dell will recruit new hires with it. Microsoft's new operating system borrows from it. No question, Facebook has friends in high places. Can CEO Mark Zuckerberg make those connections pay off?
The news that Microsoft has hired a senior Wal-Mart executive to spearhead a move into retail will not come as much of a shock. These days retailers run the world, and companies like Microsoft, which have typically supplied big retail, are now increasingly drawn to the idea of opening up for themselves. The marketing advantages are great.
Microsoft Corp. said it hired a former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executive to help the company open its own retail stores, a strategy shift that borrows from the playbook of rival Apple Inc.
Microsoft Corp. and Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. are taking on cyber-bullying (and other online safety issues) with a new public awareness campaign created by and aimed at 13-to-17-year-old girls.
For the past few years, Microsoft has been losing share in PCs to Apple. It’s been losing huge money on the Web. And it’s been badly shown up in mobile phones, where Apple and Research In Motion have far more momentum and even Palm seems to have more mindshare. But now, the company is preparing plans to do what no other company is as well-positioned—at least on paper—to do: tie the PC, Web and phone together.
Twenty-five years ago, Apple hurled a legendary marketing sledgehammer at I.B.M. personal computers that ran Microsoft software. During the 1984 Super Bowl, Apple ran a television ad that depicted those machines as instruments of Big Brotherish conformity. The ad was shown just once, but people still talk about it. Today, Apple is still producing ads that hammer away at computers that run Microsoft’s software. But this time, Apple’s pounding is constant, even as Microsoft has been weakened by product stumbles and a series of ads that fell flat with the public.
It's hard to top Microsoft Songsmith for absolute grating terribleness, but the Southern Food Brokerage definitely holds its own. This retro Super Bowl-themed disaster, based on the Chicago Bears' infamous "Super Bowl Shuffle" from 1985-86, is truly something to behold.
Calling all novice songwriters: Microsoft is pitching software designed for you, no musical training required. You sing the words as best you can, and its Songsmith software supplies computer-matched musical accompaniment.
Netbooks, those pint-size laptops that unexpectedly sold like hot cakes last year, are making life stressful for Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Microsoft.
Microsoft might pay tens of billions of dollars for Yahoo; it could pick up Palm instead for just $1 billion or $2 billion and then spend several hundred million more on transforming the Pre's user interface into a mobile OS that can run on phones made by multiple vendors. Microsoft would also gain a loyal Palm audience—and a base of developers looking to create apps for the device.
In our modern society where instant gratification is increasingly expected and attention spans are fractured and short, mobile tagging provides a vital tool to businesses hoping to instantly connect with their customers.
Video games are now an essential part of American family life. According to the Entertainment Software Association, 65% of American households play console or computer-based video games. And with this increased prevalence are increasing concerns--and possibly disagreements--about what would be a "healthy" amount of gaming for kids.
Coca-Cola North America CMO Katie Bayne stars in a new campaign breaking this week for Microsoft that makes the case to businesses that the right software can help them do their jobs better.
Microsoft's excitable CEO Steve Ballmer showed off Windows 7 -- the slick, fast, user-friendly successor to the much-maligned Windows Vista -- and said it will be available as a public beta on Friday. Unveiled by an intense Ballmer during his keynote address on the eve of CES 2009, Windows 7 will offer better performance on underpowered machines such as netbooks, support for multitouch interfaces, and simplified home networking.
After two years of having Apple define the Windows user in the form of John Hodgman's bumbling "PC" in the "Get a Mac" ads, Microsoft enlisted, for the first time, agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, whose counterpunch -- a series of spots featuring company founder Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld -- would be among the most anticipated ad campaigns in recent memory.
Microsoft's new "metered PC" concept has the nerd world united in a chorus of outrage. Despite all the yelling, the pay-as-you-go model might be one of the best ideas Redmond has had in years.
Last summer, Microsoft's marketing department pulled a strange stunt to prove that its latest operating system, Windows Vista, isn't as terrible as everyone on the Internet claims. The result: as long as customers don't know they're using Vista, they love it.As long as customers don't know they're using Vista, they love it.
This fall, ABI Research did an online study among 1,001 tech-savvy consumers to gauge their perceptions of tech brands.
The iPhone has everyone scrambling to come up with their own killer device, and the latest efforts are coming from Microsoft, if recent reports popping up in the blogosphere are to be believed.
Microsoft will be filled to the gills with The Guild as it has an exclusive lock on the long-awaited second season of the cult favorite Internet series, which will be the first to be distributed worldwide simultaneously across Microsoft's triple platform of Xbox 360's Live Marketplace, MSN and Zune.