This month, October 2012 is a pivotal moment for Microsoft. The company is about to launch not one, not two, but a handful of products onto consumers that will present Microsoft with an opportunity three years in the making.
In late October, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Surface, IE10 and possibly Xbox Music will be released by Microsoft which will signal the rebirth of the company in the consumer segment. This rebirth will bring a unified interface, a common core and cross-platform uniformity that Microsoft has not achieved in any of its previous reimaginings.
The new direction for the company is a bold bet and we will certainly look back at this point in the future and determine if this was either Microsoft’s foray into the next generation of computing platforms or if this was the first pivot point of a society moving away from Microsoft products.
With Windows 8, we are seeing an entirely new direction for Microsoft, out with the old, in with Live-tiles. Windows Phone 8 will build on the slowly adopted Windows Phone 7 but bring with it many new features and the hottest Nokia device the company and the market, has ever seen. Tablets, Microsoft will be showing the world what its designers and engineers are capable of with the Surface. The company will also be giving consumers access to its latest browser, IE10, that Microsoft hopes to head-off the trend of users dumping IE and switching to Chrome or Firefox. And finally, although not confirmed yet, Microsoft will make another push into the music market with its Xbox Music platform.
These products represent three key segments: PC, Tablet, and Phone. These three products are the ecosystem that consumers reside within and lest not forget the Xbox which will be updated next year (but already delivers excellent Windows 8/PC cross-capability).
When these products are introduced, expect an all out marketing attack as Microsoft will be looking to capitalize on the early onset of publicity. Microsoft will have at least three business units advertising this holiday season as Microsoft will need to make the public aware of what Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the Surface offer to the consumer and more importantly to show Microsoft’s new face. We would also be willing to bet that IE10 will get a push and of course, Xbox Music could have its own campaign too.
If Microsoft has its head screwed on tight, you should not be able to go a single day without seeing a Microsoft advertisement. If they do not capitalize on this launch month, the future could turn dark, very quickly.
As we all prepare to watch Microsoft come out of a three-year development cycle and unleash its goods on consumers, be watching for signs of either acceptance or refute by consumers. If Microsoft can’t convince consumers that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are the best damn products the company has ever built and its worth your time to learn the new ecosystem, heads will roll.
The Surface campaign has already started with artwork being spotted around the country, which is a good start but convincing consumers to switch platforms will need more than dotted lines on a wall with a slogan of “click-in” as let’s face it, June was a very long time ago and consumers need a re-fresh of why to buy the Surface.
Microsoft is not blind, they know this is a pivotal point in history, we can see that with their pop-up stores for the holiday season that will arrive just in time for the Surface launch. With more physical locations with consumers to connect to Microsoft products, the goal is clearly to get the consumer familiar and comfortable with the new products.
The Microsoft ecosystem is about to be changed dramatically with entirely new products that Microsoft needs to succeed to continue its growth into the next decade.
October is a turning point, a re-birth, for Microsoft as they prepare to overhaul their key consumer products. The billion dollar launch, yes billion if you extrapolate out the revenue of all the devices and their entire lifecycle, is pivotal and Microsoft has the lime light…don’t screw it up.