Microsoft marketing genius

In Tech Consulting by Steve WilkinsonLeave a Comment

Those of you who read my blog know that I often pick on Microsoft. I must confess that this is because I am both busy and lazy. It takes a lot of time to research and write commentary on things like Global Warming, Intelligent Design, or the Impact of the Reformation on Seventeenth century life. M$ just makes it so easy to knock off a quick blog with all their crazy antics.

But today I thought…. “hmm, I still don’t have time to write a ‘real’ article…. and I pick on M$ too much… maybe I can find some something nice to say about them…” I mean, they did delay the release of Vista for a long time to ensure product quality. That’s positive, right?

So, I fire up Safari to peruse the typical news sites looking at what Microsoft has been up to lately.

In the recent article “Microsoft: We’re not Google, and we’re proud of it” (1)link removed – article no longer on-line it is clear that M$ has decided to start upholding the law rather than breaking it. In a move to protect content providers, they believe the ‘fingerprinting’ technology in their Soapbox video-sharing site will be much more responsible than Google’s YouTube. It is refreshing to see such a drastic change after the drama and lies during the anti-trust trials and their long history of patent infringement.

But it is not just lawyers and corporations… Microsoft looks out for its user base as well. Another recent “news article” makes me aware of another great M$ technology called WGA. Coming from the Macintosh world, I was not aware of this technology. Will those innovators at M$ never stop? WGA is an acronym for Windows Genuine Advantage. This incredibly cool feature of Windows XP and Vista keeps you securely tethered to the the M$ mother-ship. Let’s say that you accidently installed Windows on some computer. WGA protects you from the legal hassles you might face if you were caught. As the article points out, the system still has a few bugs and hiccups. It recently prevented hundreds of legitimate users from using their computers for 19 hours or so (possibly for days or weeks if they were traveling)… but this is really a small price to pay to keep a few disorganized people out of jail, don’t you think?

Even the family lives of the leaders of this great company are not forgotten. For example, current CEO Steve Ballmer has apparently read about the danger of things children might find using search engines on the Internet, as well as incidents of assault and theft of iPods recently. He says, “My children–in many dimensions they’re as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod.” It is great to see parents concerned for their children’s welfare in this age of ‘hands off’ parenting.

And, despite all the success, leaders at M$ remain completely humble. Gates says, “At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top – I’m afraid that’s not quite right.” Indeed, how could one person possibly take credit for vast innovation such as Microsoft BOB or the Paper Clip Assistant. How do they do it?

But what is Microsoft truly most gifted at? Marketing. Who else could come up with such a creative, positive name for Software Copy Protection as ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’. This is the true innovation going on at M$, and it leaves me, well…. speechless.