I can just hear Jerry Seinfeld’s monologue taking jabs at Redmond: “…and what’s with Microsoft Vista—Bob and Windows ME weren’t embarrassing enough?” Who knows, maybe he already has. But now all that must be put aside as he takes on the role of pitch man for Vista. Do the folks in Redmond realize that Seinfeld’s TV shows are all reruns now?
Ron Miller’s post today got me thinking about how pathetic Microsoft's reaction was to Apple’s funny and in my opinion memorable and effective--not to mention widely spoofed--ads depicting Microsoft operating systems as the nerdy loser against the hip, savvy Mac OS X guy.
Microsoft’s reaction—to set aside US$300 million for a counter insurgency led by American comedian and TV star Jerry Seinfeld—is telling. The company has lost its way when it comes to marketing. Gone are the “Start Me Up” theme songs, the dedicated techies camping out to be first in line to buy Windows 95, the lights shining Microsoft’s colors from the Empire State Building.
Now it will be Jerry Seinfeld, perhaps asking rhetorically “What’s with widgets? Aren’t they fictional items they teach you about in statistics class?” Or maybe they’ll turn Seinfeld into some kind of WindowsMan, or pair him up as in the “Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Seinfeld_%26_Superman[/URL].
In most good comedy there’s a nugget of truth. And Microsoft’s reaction to the ads indicates that they must have really hit home. More ridiculous is that Apple still has such a small percentage of the market (about 7%), compared with Microsoft’s 91%. Though Apple has gained steadily in recent months and years.
A better marketing strategy for Microsoft might be to run series of ads similar to Apple's, pitting Vista against Linux, which Vista could more easily compete with. But to really compete with Apple, Microsoft needs to emulate Apple’s bottom-up approach to OS improvement rather than piling the same old kernel with loads of useless eye candy and "features." The Apple-Microsoft debate is over; Mac OS X has moved into an entirely different league. One might as well compare apples and oranges.