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Paul Thurrott Nails It on Microsoft’s Woes



Talk about a lineage. John Gruber links to Paul Thurrott spinning off of John Dvorak’s recent column about Microsoft’s woes.  In my view Thurrott aims and hits the mark. His point(s) is that Microsoft is blowing it as it tries to play the marketing game, something I’ve argued for quite some time. Thurrott’s observations add an interesting context to Bill Gates’ recent Tablet talk don’t you think? Here’s the money quote:

And if you’re looking to copy Apple’s success–and you are–then at least do it right. It’s not about the products at all. What Apple does right is marketing. It’s form over function, plain and simple. How else could the world be so excited over an unnecessary over-sized iPod touch? Because it’s from Apple, that’s how. And the press markets it for them, and makes people believe that this is somehow a big deal. It’s a self-replicating back-patting, buddy system, plain and simple.

And you’re not part of the circle, Microsoft. How else can you explain the ginormous Windows 7 sales that get no attention, and certainly no love from Wall Street? You’ve sold over 100 million licenses of this thing in record time and all anyone can talk about are lost iPhones and the iPad. I mean, give me a break.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.



  1. gEEk

    05/04/2010 at 2:43 pm

    The silence about upcoming products Thurrot speaks about is actually stolen from Apple’s playbook. The problem is first Microsoft rarely releases tangible products. HTC, HP, Dell, and Lenovo do so much of Microsoft’s press goes to them. Second, Microsoft’s ecosystem has been playing catch-up to Apple since the iPhone was introduced. Nobody wants to talk about who’s running second or third in a race. They want to talk about who is winning. Microsoft will not receive mindshare from the general press until they (1) release Windows Phone 7, (2) release some sort of slick slate device, (3) get some Microsoft branding on these devices, and (4) produce devices have some aspect that is demonstratively better than Apple’s (rather than just being different).

  2. Tatlin

    05/04/2010 at 3:46 pm

    Those who keep saying that apple products are doing well because of marketing need to actually look at some of that marketing. IPhone and iPad marketing simply shows people what the devices do. Once you get hold of one the quality of the experience does the rest.

    • Brett Gilbertson

      05/04/2010 at 5:04 pm

      Maybe, but I wonder how much NLP has to do with it. I don’t know enough about NLP, but I suspect this from what I do know.

      I have to constantly workaround the limitations of my iPhone (eg. horrible battery life, poor connectivity) and iPad, yet when I hold them in my hands I get this warm and fuzzy feeling.

      Take a look at any of the Apple keynotes and they are laced with emotional anchoring techniques. Steve Jobs can’t speak without including some NLP keywords in every sentence -“magical, amazing, spectacular.”

      Even his recent letter on adobe included NLP hypnotic phrases like “let me explain.”

      I think the may be more to it than product!

    • GoodThings2Life

      05/04/2010 at 8:15 pm

      Uh, correction… the iPhone commercials, exclusively, show what the phone can do and how it works. No other Apple advertising does the same. It’s either some lame pop-culture song with shadow figures dancing (I get the connection between music and the iPod, but it does more than that, right?), and the Mac ads do nothing but complain about Windows.

  3. Tim

    05/04/2010 at 7:48 pm

    People wonder what the big deal is with Apple. When people take a close look at Apple’s overpriced products, they realize it’s all overhype. They go ahead and get Blackberries, and increasingly Androids, instead of iPhones, and get Window 7 desktops, laptops and netbooks, instead of Macs. The media love Apple so much because is because Apple’s overpriced products are status symbols for the affluent, and media people are part of that group. Very personal items such as personal computers and phones are very close to people’s hearts, and affluent media people are biased towards Apple products they use.

  4. GoodThings2Life

    05/04/2010 at 8:17 pm

    Apple’s success is definitely marketing. I hate their marketing, and it’s less about what or how they market so much as how much they market. Their ads are everywhere, and of course the media advertises for free too, so they’re impossible to avoid. I’ve actually updated my RSS feeds for several sites to auto-filter Apple content because (Gizmodo and Engadget in particular) because of their obnoxious bias.

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