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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Monday, December 19, 2005

The decline of the Windows brand ... Deconstructed

Blake Ross:
The best way to determine the flavor of the month at Microsoft is to look at the names of its products.

When Microsoft’s chat program was first released, it was called “MSN Messenger,” reflecting Microsoft’s increased strategic focus on the MSN brand. I remember the day it magically morphed into “Windows Messenger”
Actually, you only think you remember that. Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger have always been separate products.
Now we’ve got Windows Live Messenger, even though the latest version is not endemic to the Windows Live vision.
Windows Live Messenger is a rebranding of MSN Messenger, yes. But it's absolutely "endemic" to the Windows Live "vision," since "endemic" means "belonging to." It's impossible to argue that Windows Live Messenger is not part of the overall Windows Live vision of "helping bring together all the elements of an individual’s digital world," as Microsoft says.
This kind of marketing strategy worked well when Windows was the most prominent brand on a user’s computer.
What proof do you have that it doesn't work well now?
As a user, how many times a day do I see “Windows” versus “Google"? My generation doesn’t know or care about “Windows,” and why should they?
If I understand Ross' generation--college students with no money--then it's unclear why their perception of reality is interesting to people of my generation--people in the prime of the money earning portion of their lives. The truth is that Microsoft generates dramatically better revenues and earnings than does Google, and while Google has done a good job competing against Microsoft in markets in which Microsoft has never made any money, it has yet to compete effectively against Microsoft in markets in which it has been successful.

To each his own, I guess, but holding up Google as the paragon of idealism simply shows that this guy is young and inexperienced, and little else. Yeah, we get it, people "Google" stuff all the time. I certainly do. But when they "Google" stuff, they do it from Internet Explorer on Windows, and often it's because they're looking up something for a document they're creating in Word, or an email they'll send in Outlook. Those are all Microsoft products, by the way, and they all generate significant income for the software giant.
And as a developer, I cringe now whenever I’m faced with a Windows-only toolkit ... The game has outgrown Microsoft and reduced it to a mere player.
I guess the dominance of IE and Windows in their respected markets means nothing to developers. But I do love the use of the term "Windows-only toolkit" as if targeting 95 percent of the market was somehow limiting to developers that were actually trying to make money on their products. We can argue about why Microsoft is succesful, and I'd probably be right there next to you, cheering on the little guy, but the truth is, they are successful. And as much as you, a Mozilla developer, would like to ignore both IE and Windows, the truth is, real developers can't do that. And for whatever it's worth, Microsoft has certainly set up a support system for developers that can't be beaten.

That being said, I do use and recommend Firefox, and have for years. I use Firefox because it's safer and more feature-packed than IE, and I've been burned by IE's security problems. I do use Windows too, of course, and MSN Messenger too, and Word and Outlook. I use Google. But many people who try to ignore Microsoft are simply hurting themselves for no good reason. Just use the best solution for you and get on with life. If something better than Outlook, Word, or, yes, Google, comes along, I'll be all over it. I'm more concerned with my own needs than I am by the needs of Mozilla, Microsoft, or Google. It's called pragmatism.
[ Posted at 8:58 AM | Permalink ]


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