Knock On Effects, and the Long Game

Written by dermdaly on June 19th, 2012

Many years ago, Microsoft made a decision to OEM their operating system. It went stellar, and runs on machines built by lots of manufacturers. These machines support peripherals developed by an even larger number of companies. There’s no doubting the success this has led to.
There’s a knock on effect though: Microsoft’s Beta Programmes have to be aimed at this wide audience; Secrecy is pretty much non existent if your beta programme involves millions of people.
So. Microsoft pre-announce early. If they didn’t, their beta programmes would let all the cats out of the bag, and there’d be nothing to talk about.
But when they build their own product, their marketing teams are conditioned by years of early announcements, and see this no differently. They early-announce their Surface product, and with this early announcement, have to leave out the yet-to-be-decided facts.
People’s reactions are are bemusement: When ? How Much?

This is the knock-on effect of the OEM programme.

Many years ago, Apple made a decision to build all of the ecosystem, and keep it internal. It grew slowly, and took years to make the slightest dent in the PC market.
But, this gave them the luxury of secrecy. When you own and make it all, you can ensure people keep their traps shut.
So, when Apple announce their products, they can say things like




People’s reactions are then about sprinting to their local Apple store, or reaching for their credit card.

This is a knock-on effect of playing the long game.

Different approaches…eliciting different responses.

Comments (3)

brian grishaber says:

Nice article. Bang on. MS has not figured it out and probably won’t.
On the other hand, Rim & Nokia introduce new hardware for release in 6 months and no one buys their current stuff. Hmmm.

“On the other hand, Rim & Nokia introduce new hardware for release in 6 months and no one buys their current stuff. Hmmm.”

That’s why I think this message wasn’t aimed at consumers, like an Apple product release event is. I think this is targeted to their OEM licensees, that it’s time to really create good hardware, or MS will go it alone. Developers and early adopter consumers are secondary targets at best.

Microsoft used to enjoy the ability to kill other products in the market with their early announcements. A company would announce and start selling a product and then MS would make the announcement that they were going to sell a similar product. Sales of the first company would dry up while consumers hung onto their money waiting to see what Microsoft’s product would look like. The original company would go out of business and then Microsoft would cancel their product citing lack of interest based on the evidence of the first company’s failure.

This is ancient history, but they no doubt feel they just put a dent into sales of products other than iPads because of it.

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