Nov 102010
 

Despite many self-inflicted blows to the head, I cannot get that sound byte out of my head, which I guess is the point of most Microsoft advertising. It’s one of the things I imagine they teach in “Introduction to Advertising”. Except for the part about the impression associating positively with the brand. Redmond’s ads are memorable like Creepy King.

Anyway, Windows Phone 7 debuted their offerings with AT&T (yes, the same network that is holding the iPhone hostage) and it doesn’t look like it made a huge splash, despite whoring out Maroon 5 and Katy Perry in an attempt to sell them. I guess launching on the same network as the iPhone wasn’t that great an idea after all. Despite some critics’ hypothesis, which is that Microsoft burned its bridge with Verizon when they yoinked the Kin after 2 months, I actually think there’s a larger strategy at play. Microsoft wants to be the best by beating the best. Really. This is the same company that threatened to open its wildly popular retail stores next door to Apple Stores. I apologize in advance for any sarcasm detectors I may have just broken.

On a related note, I despise Katy Perry. You know by listening to her music that she sold out approximately 14 seconds postpartum.

“Let’s make a pop song about lipstick lesbianism!” /giggles

“I’m married to wild child Russell Brand and I have him trained!” /giggles

Is it any coincidence that Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani have both shilled for Redmond? They’re the same schtick, people. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen them together. File that rant under “Haters gon’ hate”.

Jul 072010
 

With the recent Kin debacle, some people who talk about tech for a living have started to look at Microsoft as a company that might actually suck. Whispers about the company’s slow demise can be heard as far as the hallowed halls of ZDNet and Computerworld. Somewhere, the riders of the apocalypse are saddling their horses.

Take MiniMicrosoft, for example. Always a voice of straight talk within the Borg, MiniM$ went on a tear about the Kin. An awesome quote from a former Danger (the company that Microsoft acquired to squander their innovations with the Kin) employee sums it up nicely:

Consider this, in less than 10 years with 1/10 of the budget Microsoft had for PMX, we created a fully multitasking operating system, a powerful service to support it, 12 different device models, and obsessed and supportive fans of our product…

When we were first acquired, we were not taking long lunches and coffee breaks. We were committed to help this Pink project (the project that evolved into Kin) out and show our stuff. But when our best ideas were knocked down over and over and it began to dawn on us that we were not going to have any real affect on the product, we gave up. We began counting down to the 2 year point so we could get our retention bonuses and get out.

Of course, anyone with an iota of sense who isn’t on Microsoft’s payroll in some way has been on them about destroying the value of any of their consumer product offerings – whether developed or acquired. It’s like some kind of CE shit-finger. The Dimunitive One taps the nose yet again:

…we only excel at taking the financial boon of Windows and Office and giving it over to leadership that totally blows it down the drain like an odds-challenged drunk in Vegas. And the shareholders continue to suffer in silence. And the drunks are looking for their next cash infusion.

The stink lines have been streaking off this carcass since they first started thinking they could innovate with the same talent they showed using their monopoly power to run competitors out of the market. First Google destroys them in search – and then mobile devices. Then Apple parlays superior offerings into a industry force that crushes their market cap. I only hope Ballmer sticks around long enough to see it through to the end that’s so obviously coming.

Jun 302010
 

Microsoft sure is getting good at killing products. Last month it was the non-product Courier, which got some significant starring roles in animations that were leaked to the tech press around the time of the iPad’s launch.

This month Redmond is putting its recently-released Kin phones out to pasture – less than 2 months after a marketing blitz of a release that featured impeccably-dressed angsty tweens and continued a Microsoft tradition of top-notch advertising. The company says it will integrate the Kin group, led by Sidekick data-killer Roz Ho, with the Windows Phone Series 7 Series Phone Thingy team.

It’s refreshing to see Microsoft being able to pull the plug not just on products they had no intention of releasing anyway, but on things that actually ship. This level of discipline and self-awareness bodes well for them, even if the 48 day flameout of a major product line is – how can one put this gently – a fucking abomination? If realizing no one wants your consumer electronics offerings is the prerequisite for getting axed, one wonders if Microsoft will even have a Entertainment and Devices division in the near term.

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