what a difference this time around for Microsoft

In 1995 I remember being in a cab in New York and all the driver wanted to talk about was Windows 95. That same year I remember two mothers with their babies in a Starbucks discussing the merits of Windows versus the Mac OS. 1995 was a truly remarkable time in technology and a time when Microsoft truly broke through as a household name. It is interesting that twelve years on and with a huge marketing budget the launch of Vista has not quite captured the same level of attention even though there are billions of people who may be affected by it, compared with the mere hundred million or so back in ’95. I know a lot of people will say this shows how Windows is no longer the driver of the tech industry. On that front I’d argue that Windows is still very much at the heart of IT. It’s just not that new. Indeed Windows is technically nearly 22 years old now. It seems hard to imagine that some University graduates were born after Windows was first launched. If you think about Windows in this way you realize that the comms challenge with Windows is quite unique in technology terms. Indeed the challenge could be likened to that of an aging rock star that is trying to attract a new generation of admirers. It’s a tough trick to pull off but some manage it and I for one wouldn’t bet against Microsoft even if Vista hasn’t got off to the high profile bang it did when it scored its big hit in ’95.

3 Comments on “what a difference this time around for Microsoft”

  1. Andrew Smith says:

    OK Tim, now you’ve raised it, which ageing rock star would you compare Vista to? 😉

  2. Courtney says:

    Tim –

    I think something else is happening – most people are now aware that when you upgrade operating system software, it usually means pain and suffering in the form of $$$. One finds that they have to upgrade other things as well and this all comes at a price. Many people just don’t want to play that game anymore. This time it will take awhile for people to want to change.

  3. Tim Brook says:

    If you watch the BBC Money Programme about the launch – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6343943.stm (you can watch the whole programme from the site – although might be UK only?) you might be able to work out why there is so little “wow”.
    From a PR point of view this show is an amazing PR result – 30mins of nothing but nice things about Vista. Although you have to wonder what sort of deal M$FT gave the BBC to get this coverage!
    My personal favourites from the programme are:
    1 – The guy from Microsoft telling you how to spell “Wow”
    2 – The marketing lady admitting that what with all the internal brainstorming M$FT did around marketing vista – it took an agency to come up with a COMPETITION to launch it
    3 – The PR guy, when asked for his top 3 activities in the build up to the launch saying “the PR plan is coming together”

    Priceless – for Microsoft anyway!

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