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Microsoft looks for cool clue while Zune sings last song

Tuesday, 14 April 2009 — by

Microsoft’s ill-fated Zune, that self-proclaimed “iPod killer” is inching closer to EoL (End of Life) hell. Will anyone notice, or even care? Not really. And will Microsoft lose their cool? You have to question whether they ever had any cool to lose in the first place…

microsoft logo in blackMicrosoft sense this cold draft, foretelling a wind of change, and not one for them to benefit by. As for the Zune, it’s all but been blown away by Apple’s iPod — and a recent teenager consumer survey dealt a killer blow to Microsoft’s Zune:

“Not a single teen plans to buy a Zune, Microsoft’s ill-conceived challenger to Apple’s iPod.

And that’s probably just as well, given it looks like Microsoft is sending its player heavenward following what’s looking like the Zune’s final physical manifestation.”

This survey, on the back of the backlash Microsoft will have suffered as a result of their utterly inept attempt at undermining Apple’s coolness, the guys at Redmond must be wondering what next for their tattered musical ambitions.

And what report might that be? You see, Microsoft recognize they have about as much cool as a drunken middle-aged dad dancing at a wedding disco.

I for one don’t think they’re really going to change this perception. Whatever else they do, they’re still the guys that make the Windows operating system, and all the business software that same disco-dancing dad uses at work.

Even long-standing Microsoft apologists like John Dvorak recognize the truly damaged Microsoft brand perception:

“It’s the Microsoft brand that attracts negative attention, don’t you think? I’ve said this before in other columns, but Microsoft has lost control of its own brand image. The company lost it years ago, and I now see the brand itself as a negative factor.”

Sure, the Xbox is doing good, but that’s the Xbox, which I suspect most people don’t fully realize is a wholly-owned Microsoft product.

So how do you service a brand that has all the appeal of wearing beige, side-ironed corduroy trousers with a plaid shirt? Why, you actively diminish those brands around you that do have coolness, like Apple, with a report peppered with laughably bad factual inaccuracies, that’s how:

“The age-old battle between Microsoft and Apple is heating up again, and this time, Redmond is cheating.

On Thursday, Microsoft released a company-sponsored snark-fest written by Roger L. Kay of Endpoint Technology Associates that is, simply put, an embarrassment.”

Microsoft really can’t stop looking over their shoulders, like a herd of frightened deer. It’s a shame and it’s also pathetically sad, too. Microsoft produce, for the most part, functional if somewhat mediocre software that succeeds mostly through sheer weight of marketing spend and not quality.

And for the first time in the company’s history, Microsoft are having to compete on quality, something that is sending shockwaves through their antiquated business model.

What I find truly confusing is how they could have a growing success with the Xbox, yet flounder in such spectacular fashion and yet such peculiar style with the Zune. Without further research to be sure, I suspect they’re products spread across the Microsoft empire, separated by an ocean of internal divisions.

Denigrating the competition is a weak tactic. But to pick a fight on the grounds of coolness is buffoonery or the highest order.

One has to wonder what wonderful numbers those internal researchers are unearthing that have Microsoft snatching at such idiotic battle grounds as what’s fashionable, hip and what’s not — and just how important a part Apple must play…

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Comment and be known

Heidi Cool → Tuesday, 21 April 2009 @ 6:14 BDT

I think Microsoft just needs to focus on their niche. They’re good at being beige, and they have a huge market share in that sector. So instead of trying to be Apple they should focus on being better in their core areas and just stop worrying about trying to be hip.

Wine Cheese Baskets → Monday, 8 June 2009 @ 19:38 BDT

Alright. So I have an iPod Touch. This is the third time it broke. I sent it back to Apple and it’s on back order. They said about 2-3 moths til’ I will get money or a new one. So, I decided I am going to buy a cheap mp3 player while I wait for that.

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