Microsoft's counter-attack against Windows 8 coverage makes it 'look weak'

Apple-esque communication strategy comes home to roost, argues analyst

By , Computerworld |  Windows

Shaw's rebuttal: "In this world where everyone is a publisher, there is a trend to the extreme -- where those who want to stand out opt for sensationalism and hyperbole over nuanced analysis," he said.

"What Shaw is doing is asking for patience," said Moorhead. "He's trying to set expectations. If people think Blue will be a 'swing you around the room' moment, it will not be that. Microsoft doesn't want people to get their expectations raised, and then have another cycle of maligning Windows 8."

But Moorhead also saw Microsoft's predicament as largely self-inflicted, the result of its communications choices coming home to roost.

"This is the result of a sub-optimal communications strategy that goes all the way back to Windows 7," Moorhead said. "Prior to Windows 7, Microsoft had a much more collaborative communication strategy with the press and analysts. But they saw Apple get traction with a much more closed approach, and opted for Apple's strategy. They started to create a more challenging relationship with analysts and the press."

But Microsoft, Moorhead said, is no Apple. "Microsoft doesn't make a good Apple," he said, repeating an argument he used last week, when he pointed out that Microsoft has a much larger ecosystem than Apple, with thousands of hardware partners, herds of resellers, a bigger pool of developers and both enterprise and consumer customers to keep in the loop.

What works for Apple, in other words, is not necessarily what works for Microsoft.

"Microsoft needs to return to their earlier Windows communications strategy," said Moorhead. "They were one of the biggest technology companies that pioneered social media, they were once very collaborative with the press."

But the world's changed since Windows 7, when Stephen Sinofsky took over as head of Windows development and brought the more secretive, closed communications approach he'd used when he ran Office development, to the OS group. Sinofsky was ousted from Microsoft last fall.

"It is an echo chamber," Moorhead acknowledged. "Users, bloggers and the press all have opinions they can easily express. But because Microsoft isn't as close to analysts and the press as they used to be, maybe the result [of last week's blitz about Blue] was a lot different, and more negative, than Microsoft expected."

Other analysts have also noted the changes in how Microsoft interacts with outsiders, including themselves, the press, OEMs and developers. How and what it communicated to OEMs and developers -- and when -- negatively affected Windows 8, they believe.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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