Microsoft Finally Gets It

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) has done more harm than good in revitalizing PC sales. In fact, Windows 8 sales are off to a worse start than the nightmare known as Windows Vista. Between the lack of affordable touch-enabled devices and the radical change in the user interface, there are plenty of reasons behind the poor reception. However, there's one major reason that remains largely unaddressed: marketing.

Whenever a company introduces a product that's a strong divergence from its past, it's really important that the marketing message explains the differences and why users would want to embrace it. Microsoft's advertising message with Windows 8 hasn't exactly been clear with consumers ... until now:

The sooner potential users can understand the value that Windows 8 adds to the computing experience, the better chances PC sales can find some footing. In a 30-second ad, Microsoft successfully conveyed what makes Windows 8 different from previous versions and why that's a good thing for users. It also showed the versatility of a Windows 8 hybrid laptop that doubles as a tablet in a pinch.

It's complicated
As Microsoft CFO Peter Klein put it, transitioning to Windows 8 has been "complicated." For the first time ever, touch and mobility are now the central focus of the PC experience, which has naturally been met with resistance among millions of Windows users. Before Microsoft can really get the Windows 8 ball rolling, it must win over the hearts of those unwilling to change. In this context, it becomes clear how important clear-cut marketing is to Microsoft's ambitions. This ad is living proof that Microsoft is making progress toward that goal.

Granted, it's going to take more than a single 30-second ad to change the negative perceptions surrounding Windows 8. But little by little, Mr. Softy may be able to improve its marketing effectiveness.

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Read/Post Comments (25) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 1:11 AM, JaricF wrote:

    I'm using Windows 8 on my laptop. I actually love the Bing News search engine, and how I can put in key words and gets news associated with it. Unfortunately, the interface is clunky and awful with a mouse.

    I'm sure as a touch experience Windows 8 is wonderful but for regular laptops, I hate it. I hate it so much I downloaded classic shell to change the OS back to the old user interface.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 1:33 AM, viaperl wrote:

    A new ad mean Microsoft "gets it?" How is a touch screen conducive to data entry? Give me DOS back so I can do my work and not fool with gimickry!

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 1:38 AM, NoWindows8LockIn wrote:

    This is ridiculous. Any idiot can look at the UI of Windows 8 and "get it". The friggin' tiles make sure you get it. That's not the problem.

    The problem is that Microsoft is trying to force us to use the computer a certain way.

    What is not said about the Windows 7 interface is that it is maximally permissive, in that everything is there for you, and you get to decide when, what..etc.

    Metro reduces the density of things available, and we hate it.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:00 AM, nysig1 wrote:

    Are you kidding me? It's the marketing that been the problem? That's the same mentality that created Windows 8.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:01 AM, Rujikin wrote:

    Never going to use touch on my laptop/desktop so why do I need a touch interface?

    I think I'll wait til Windows 9 as every even numbered windows product is terrible.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:02 AM, VegasSmitty wrote:

    Seems to me the only ones that have a problem with Win 8 are the media people because there not smart enough to make the change to a better OS.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:16 AM, twimky wrote:

    Please hear ye, hear ye. Not intended to be disrespectful, but rather to be clearly defined. Microsoft (alias for Gates, Balmer, etc) has quirked along in their foggy application support/creation and made the fortunes so reported. Buttttt, those individuals have their own created demise... and us'ns out here are not to be heirs struggling with all they have done and presented to the hackers. IT IS GOOD NEWS THAT A NEW GENEOLOGICAL ACCOMPLISHMENT SHALL APPEAR OUT OF THE FOG!

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:21 AM, justausier wrote:

    And for the 99% of Windows users who do NOT have a $1400 Surface Pro? Or for that matter a touch screen? What does it do for us? But sadly, we all know Microsoft will not change. They have jumped into this with both feet, hardware, software, cloud and all. I fear for the normal everyday causal user, and even the business user, we are simply going to have to put up with it once XP and Wn 7 are ended.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:23 AM, jony101 wrote:

    in other words microsoft wont be putting the start button back where in belongs, and I the customer have to learn to live without it?

    when I get a touchscreen I'll get windows 8 to expierence its great interface.

    Note to microsoft, people dont like change. The romans had a 1000 year civilization and they wore togas for a thousand years, no one tried to force them to change.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:25 AM, Xiggie1 wrote:

    I saw absolutely nothing new in the video. Every point this 'advertisement' (not an article) made about what people don't like about W8 was not addressed. And then they go farther and try to say the pc is dying. Now who does that make the fool.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 2:40 AM, kmeyer360 wrote:

    Windows 8 is the reason I switched to a Mac. No amount of marketing is going to make me want to switch back.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 3:09 AM, MiskaBob wrote:

    Marketing isn't the problem, it's the product. I did not choose Windows 8, it was forced on me via new computer. An absolute nightmare for business/finance applications - NO TOUCHSCREEN! Business doesn't have a touchscreen and never will. What a crap program.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 5:08 AM, 8James38 wrote:

    Typing and using the mouse is what I do. I like working that way. It is efficient, and I can accomplish what I want to accomplish.

    I do not need, nor do I want to buy, a touch screen anything, especially not a laptop or computer. Forget it, I do not want it.

    Also, I do not want to buy another os. I am happy with 7. I was happy with XP. I was happy with 98. What is the deal, MS? This constant barrage of new os nonsense is disgusting money grubbing.

    Please just keep 7 going, and let thos of us who find it completely adequate just enjoy what we are doing.

    If you try to pressure me to change, I will - either to Linux or to Apple. Take that to the bank.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 7:46 AM, lilyvonshtupp wrote:

    Windows 8 is a nightmare. Hate it.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 7:50 AM, win8sucks wrote:

    I work as tech support for Verizon fios. People hate windows8 and I don't blame them. I share their computer screen at times to troubleshoot problems and I can see why. I cannot see desktop PC's ever becoming obsolete. With all the video streaming, a lot of people don't even own a TV anymore. I see tv cable companies becoming obsolete! Why pay 80.00 a month for the same stuff you can stream free or with Netflix? Winxp was the best os by far. Win7 is a nice upgrade without too many changes. Get with it Microsoft, most middle generation and over don't want their computers looking like a smart phone!

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 7:56 AM, 2fools4nun wrote:

    If you can't beat them, go around them. There are plenty of free programs to put Windows 8 back to appearing and functioning like 7. Use them and if your like me never get another windows PC again

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 8:23 AM, Earthendar wrote:

    I absolutely love Windows 8, And I am happy to work with and show people how to use it. The only thing that most people have an issue with is the point and click mindset. Once they become familiar with their keyboard and all of its functions, they also come to love it. It is something that takes an open mind. The biggest point is the Windows key will become your best friend.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 9:40 AM, CharlieTX wrote:

    For all non-touch screen computers in users hands today, which is probably about 98% of all Windows computers in the world, Windows 8 is a disaster. It's not a matter of Microsoft explaining anything, Win 8 is just - plain and simple - quite difficult to use without a touch screen. There are lots of utilities around to fix the problem, though, and for only $5 I installed Start8 from StarDock. My Win 8 machines now are Win 7 for all intents and purposes.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 10:25 AM, 1945ivac wrote:

    I purchased windows 8 on a lap top too replace windows 7 it takes some time in getting used too but computers always take time when learning something new from a old 67 year old man thank you

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 10:27 AM, johnnyrocku wrote:

    If MS thinks the problem is marketing, then they really don't 'get it'. Windows 8 is simply the worst OS of all time. No amount of marketing will change that.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 10:39 AM, Bill30855 wrote:

    I beg to differ that Microsoft "gets it." My B-school marketing professor once said "there is nothing like good advertising to point out a bad product." This is what is happening with Microsoft. I totally agree with the comments that "explaining" Windows 8 will NOT cause some epiphany so we will like Windows 8. Windows 8 is fundamentally flawed in many ways. Microsoft took a UI from a 4" smartphone and expanded into a desktop UI. And they took many of the positive features out of Windows 7....yes the Start Button and all that came with it. As an example in Windows 7 I could go to Start scroll up to Word and hover allowing a display of my recently accessed Word documents. Not so in Windows 8. Windows 8 assumes the use of a touch interface. A very flawed assumption. So most of the desktops and laptops in the world are NOT touch enabled. So when I bought a new laptop for Christmas with mouse/keyboard I found myself confounded by Windows 8 awkwardness. I was not given a choice of OS but forced to buy Windows 8 (shame on Dell and other PC manufacturers who don't give consumers a choice). So in keeping with learning new technology I kept an open mind and learned to use Windows 8 for several months before junking it for a copy of Windows 7. So this debunks the "theory" that once you learn Windows 8 you'll be happier. I'm much happier now with "reverting" to Windows 7. I have an old desktop that I was also going to upgrade to a new desktop (really guys there are things that desktops still do much better than tablets/laptops such as special graphics cards, multiple monitors, etc.). But now I will just buy replacement parts and keep my Windows 7 instead of buying a new desktop with Windows 8. So why are PC sales faltering? I say again PC manufacturers' please push back on Microsoft! Offer both Windows 7 and Windows 8 as consumer (not manufacturer) choices. I say to Microsoft....hey guys no amount of marketing or advertising will make me happy with Windows 8. As one comment stated...I like my mouse and keyboard since it is efficient. And the hardware is cheaper. So Microsoft...offer a boot choice of Metro Win8 or Win7 desktop. Return the Start button and all its glory. Build a "solution" for everyone since "everyone" has different needs and we all are NOT going to use tablets and crude and inefficient imprecise touch gesture language. One more problem with Windows 8 - the Microsoft "tile" apps suck. In fact the Apple iPhone apps also have the same problem. They are a dumbed down version of web sites....just go to the Bank of America full website and you see many choices.....go to the Microsoft 8 BofA Tile and you get a very restricted (dumb) access to the site. This is OK on a 4" smartphone but definitely not OK on a full desktop.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 11:04 AM, sailjeep wrote:

    ive been in the business 30+years

    we r a microsoft partner oem system builder and full service computer company anything new is different after having win 8 for a year its not bad its fast and works great on my asus viotab

    but microsoft droped the ball with there channel partners marketing was non existant someone should loose there job or at least contact me a previous fourtune 100 marketing manager

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 11:41 AM, jimn5dc wrote:

    Until Microsoft corrects the abandoning of the POP email format in Windows 8, they can have it! I refuse to take a look at 8, and I have several clients, that I have advised against changing to 8. I have been an advocate for Microsoft products since I built my first computer with an Intel 4004 CPU, but as of Windows 8, I frankly "don't give a d--- Scarlet"

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 12:55 PM, js5987456 wrote:

    "Microsoft finally gets it." LOL A few weeks ago fool.com bashed MS. Over the past two weeks the stock has shot up goes up and now fool.com writes an article that "Microsoft gets it. What a joke.

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2013, at 8:42 PM, DickSandlin wrote:

    Change is usually hard and people love to talk. These two basic ideas help keep sites like this one open. Look at me, I'm right in there with the rest of you with my opinion.

    Microsoft has made a great leap in trying to have one UI for all platforms. The best approach to this newness might be to ignore the parts you don't like and learn how to make whatever accommodation is required to continue to compute. It's possible to use Win 8 without ever using the Start screen. If you drag the desktop tile to the upper-left in that screen, you can go to the desktop by simply hitting the Enter key. You can find tools to replace the Start button and then you essentially have Win 7 again.

    "Why should I have to?", you say. Because you just do, that's why. Learn to use Win 8 or be thrust into the darkness of obsolete software. Sure, you can use Linux or, if you're not serious about computing, you can use an Apple product.

    Ouch, that thing you just threw at me hurt. Apple has made a big contribution to computing by bringing it to the masses. You don't have to learn much to use an iPad and they're pretty. If you don't have a lot of money to spend on one, you can try Linux. It's free, but you have to learn a lot to use it. It also changes all the time, too. I know that because I use it myself. I love the Raspberry Pi!

    Microsoft will outlast all the criticism and your kids will wonder how people could stand it before the "Modern" interface came along.

    I remember all the fuss when Windows came along to replace the command-line interface. "I'll never use a mouse!", people said.

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