After a generally very poor reception to their “teaser” ads featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, Microsoft has announced that they are ending that line of ads and will be taking things in a different direction.
In a bit of a surprising move, the new ads will embrace the series of ads begun by Apple, at least partly. The next ad will feature a Microsoft engineer playing the role of a ‘PC’ (the role comedian John Hodgman plays in Apple’s campaign) and will reportedly begin with the line “hello, I’m a PC, and I’ve been made into a stereotype”.
I wonder if it will also feature sad music and crying in an effort to get us to feel sorry for poor PC?
A Microsoft brand marketing manager told the New York Times that Apple has been “using a lot of their money to de-position our brand and tell people what we stand for” and that they want to take back that narrative.
Well, good luck with that. I’m looking forward to seeing the new ads, but honestly I’m not expecting very much.
Note to Microsoft: Want to win people over? Make Windows 7 kick ass and not require brand new hardware to be able to use all of it’s features.
In an interview with Maximum PC an anonymous Microsoft Windows Vista product manager sat down for a frank conversation about Vista’s launch problems.
Some of the very refreshing and honest points are:
- Instability thanks to bad GPU and/or printer drivers by third parties.
- Poorly implemented User Account Control.
- DirectX 10 should have been ported to Windows XP.
- OEM system builders are bad for including bad, buggy, or just plain useless apps on their machines in exchange for a few bucks on the back end.
- Games for Windows initiative is a disaster, with nothing more than 64-bit compatibility for games to show for years of effort.
- Apple is more appealing than Vista because “the hardware is slick, the price is OK, and Apple doesn’t annoy its customers (or allow third parties to).”
For the whole story check out Maximum PC here.
Apple’s latest version iTunes, version 8, seems to be causing some grief for Windows Vista users.
According to reports, some users are experiencing a “blue screen of death” after plugging in an iPod or iPhone. Apparently having the device plugged in when the computer boots doesn’t make a difference.
Some affected by the problem have been able to connect their iPod or iPhone to their Vista computer succesfully by first unplugging other USB devices, particulary HP printers and scanners. For some, however, this doesn’t help at all and even a clean install of Vista doesn’t make things work.
Could it be related to a bad USB driver with iTunes 8? That’s what some users are guessing.
Either way, seems safe to say it is related to Apple’s inexcusably poor QA as of late. Seems that they’ve adopted Microsoft’s “screw it, we’ll patch it later” mentality.
The other day some interesting news came out of Microsoft: users love Vista if they don’t know it’s Vista.
As hard as it was for many to believe, that’s what they claimed and now they’ve released a video to prove it.
Keep in mind that the Mojave lovers in the video aren’t your typical geek, some with years of Windows hate lodged firmly in their mind. They’re normal computer users that hated Vista because everyone else did.
Pretty interesting. To see the video for yourself check it out at Mojave Experiment.
Focus groups in San Francisco were recently part of a Microsoft experiment. With all of the hate for Windows Vista, what if people used Vista but didn’t know it was Vista…would they still hate it?
The answer? No.
Participants of the focus groups were all Windows XP users and they were told that they would be testing out a new operating system called “Mojave”. More than 90 percent of the participants gave positive feedback on their experience with “Mojave”, with one user exclaiming “oh wow” while using it.
When each of the groups were finished they were told that they had been using Windows Vista all along, to which they replied “Vista sucks”. No, not really. =)
Something this illustrates is the public perception problem Vista has and while Microsoft has an uphill climb to change that perception, at least this research shows that it’s possible.
No word yet on whether footage of these focus groups will be used in any advertising but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t part of their upcoming $300 million push.
[Via Ars Technica]
BlackBerry owners interested in syncing music from their iTunes library are now able to do so thanks to a new tool called Media Sync.
Using Media Sync “it’s incredibly easy to transfer the music you want to take with you.”
Supported BlackBerry devices include the Pearl 8100, Curve 8300, or the 8800 running BlackBerry Device Software 4.2 or higher. On the computer side you’ll need to be using a PC running the 32-bit version of either Windows XP or Vista (sorry, no Mac version)
For more info or to download Media Sync, check out this page.
Microsoft announced today that it would be splitting it’s Platforms & Services division into two separate divisions: Windows & Windows Live, and Online Services.
The move is part of a major restructuring to try and better position the company to react more quickly to competitors in the “very competitive arenas” of operating systems and the web.
In a comparison to Apple, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer said that they “outsell Apple 30-to-1…but there is no doubt that Apple is thriving. Why? Because they are good at providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience. Today, we’re changing the way we work with hardware vendors to ensure that we can provide complete experiences with absolutely no compromises. We’ll do the same with phones—providing choice as we work to create great end-to-end experiences.”
The company also has big plans to refocus on Windows, according to a leaked memo, which also says that Apple is the main focus of the Windows team.
As Apple continues to thrive and Google continues to gobble up other companies, it will be interesting to see where Microsoft is five years from now.
Poor, misunderstood Windows Vista, or that’s what Microsoft is hoping you’ll feel after being assaulted by $300 million in advertising with a pretty clear message: Vista is better than its reputation.
Last week Microsoft previewed the new campaign at an employees-only Global Exchange conference and it was quite a hit. Now, Microsoft has to win over the rest of the world.
No word on when the ad campaign will officially launch, but I would expect to see it soon.
According to SanDisk chief Eli Harari, the architecture of Windows Vista is hindering his companies ability to roll out SSD (Solid-State Drives), saying that it’s not optimized for using this type of storage device.
“The next generation controllers need to basically compensate for Vista shortfalls,” said Harari, though he did not mention exactly where the flaw was.
If they way Vista access files were to be improve, by Harari’s logic SSDs would perform much better than they do now. That could be, but it also could be that he is jumping on the “Vista sucks” bandwagon to make up for the fact that some consumers aren’t experiencing the performance or battery life gains they expected when choosing an SSD over a traditional mechanical hard drive.
Microsoft has announced it’s fiscal year earnings and revealed that during the last 12-month period it’s income has grown roughly 18-percent.
This would be a good spot for a “but when you factor in Vista” joke, but believe it or not 180 million copies of the operating system have been sold in the 18 months since Vista’s release.
The companies last quarter was strong, earning just over $15.8 billion in that quarter alone.
According to their own financial forecasts, Microsoft anticipates a gain of at least 11 percent during this next fiscal year.