I finally figured out where Microsoft will fail. The customer. Microsoft loves selling to business, and their strong-arm tactics have been successful.
Can Microsoft sell to me, the individual customer? Not if they treat me this way.
Apple failed to win the hearts and minds of the business customer well back in the 1990s.
Microsoft understood that there is money in business, courted business, sold and sells to business.
Microsoft does not understand the individual customer. Apple does. How do I know?
Most of Microsoft’s sales go to the business customer. They sell Windows products to computer makers and businesses. They sell Microsoft Office to computer makers and businesses.
Me? Microsoft doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about me, the individual customer. How do I know?
Case in point: It was just 18 months ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called iPod users “thieves.”
I’m an iPod user and buy my music. I’m not a thief.
I understand where he was coming from with that silly comment, but it was an insult to iPod users.
There are nearly 50-million iPod users world wide.
Generally speaking, they bought their iPods one at a time. And not from Microsoft.
Most people buy Windows with a new PC, so Microsoft has little direct connection to the customer. Most people buy Office when it comes with a new PC, or it’s already at work, so there’s little direct connection to the customer.
Wait. There’s more.
18 months ago, Steve Ballmer poked at Apple, highlighted Microsoft’s solution to media at home, and said, “There is no way that you can get there with Apple.”
Apparently, there is no way you can get there (the media center in the home) with Microsoft, either. It’s now 2006 and we’re not there yet. Why?
Because Microsoft doesn’t understand the individual customer. Look at the problems with Xbox. Individual customers want it to work right the first time. Microsoft can’t do that.
A business, once it commits (or is hooked) to Microsoft, has little choice but to be patient. That’s a requirement with a monopoly.
What does Microsoft think of me, the individual customer?
First, I’m a thief if I’m an iPod owner. Now, Microsoft is calling their customers “dinosaurs” because they don’t upgrade fast enough.
True. I ran across an online video commercial for Microsoft Office. The commercial showed a guy in an office banging on the office vending machine.
He was wearing a dinosaur head. His co-worker, who stopped by to see what all the banging was about, was wearing a dinosaur head, too.
They looked at each other, and the first dinosaur head guy went back to banging the vending machine in frustration (obviously looking for food, but too stupid to understand how to use a vending machine—that less than subtle accusation was not lost on me).
The commercial ended with a simple tagline: “Microsoft Office has evolved. Have you?”
That’s not a subtle implication. Microsoft just called me a dinosaur because I haven’t upgraded to the latest version of Microsoft Office.
First, I’m a thief. Then stupid. Now a dinosaur. Is it any wonder Microsoft is often hated by their customers?
Click Here for a quick look at the sequence of images in the commercial (edited and displayed for news purposes only, so as not to incur the wrath of the Redmondian Legal Team™).
What does Microsoft think of me? They keep telling me every day. What do I think of Microsoft? They’ll need to learn sign language to hear it.