Marketing the Microsoft way : A pattern emerges

Firstly let me state that I do not hate Microsoft, nor am I anti Microsoft. I am a Microsoft Developer who earns a living from developing around Microsoft related technologies. I have loads of respect for all the developers at Microsoft who have been involved in the production of modern wonders like the C# language or for example Visual Studio 2005. Having said this I despise the way Microsoft market their products, this has nothing to do with the great efforts of all the honest people who work at Microsoft, however a lot of Microsoft dealings are blatantly dishonest,  as I am sure Apple will gladly back this statement, having just had their OSX operating system pirated by Microsoft and renamed Vista.

Over the years I have noticed the following predictable patterns Microsoft use to market their products, all of which are designed to make you and I spend more and more money on Microsoft products. Its kind of sad that we trust and respect this company called Microsoft who are proving themselves to be a greedy lot out to maximize profits from the masses.

These are the Marketing Patterns:

Releasing unnecessary version upgrades

Microsoft love doing this, and there is NO doubt that they are in the business of releasing unnecessary upgrades for their existing product line, so that you and I will be forced into a Mr Jones Corner. They use this basic marketing ploy to trick the good people of the world, because people are already conditioned to the concept that newer = better, and everyone likes to have the newest software and the best software installed. The reverse is also true, and being up to date is key to being current in this industry. IT experts are expected to be modern and not old fashioned. Companies using Microsoft technologies, communicate via email, as the general mass upgrades even the people who are wise enough to only upgrade out of necessity are eventually forced to upgrade their programs to maintain file level compatibility with the rest of the upgrade sheep.

A perfect example of this is the Microsoft Office Product. I am sure that most folks will agree, the Office 2000 product is still by today’s standards a perfectly fine product and the versions that have since emerged : XP, 2003 and 2007 somehow all tend to do the exact same thing. With the exception of 2007 which actually looks a little prettier on your screen. Its worth mentioning here that the new docx, xlsx , pptx formats are not readable by previous versions of the Office Product.

The point is that Microsoft market each release as a revolutionary way to manage your office, and each release without fail, turns out to do the exact same job as the release before. The new and advanced features are hardly ever used by the small, medium and large sized business users out there.

Naming products by date or terms that will expire.

For example Windows 2000, Office 2007, Microsoft Windows Server 2008. Have you noticed that the free technologies are versioned for example .net version 3.5 or Windows Live Writer 1.0. This is not always a clear cut truth, sometimes the rule is ignored as per Windows XP and Windows Vista. Perhaps newer products will see Microsoft steering clear of this cheap trick.

What about the Windows Millennium scam. How long did that release last – just for the turn of the Millennium right? Please ask yourself why that was, do you believe it was because the release quality of Millennium was not quite up to scratch? Perhaps at the time you thought that version would be the last to ever be released by Microsoft, and they would instead start fixing Windows like they should have years ago? Don’t you think that possibly Microsoft could have decided to release an incomplete beta to the public, accepting that the people inclined to purchase Millennium would once again be inclined to purchase XP pretty soon, and in upcoming months.

Withholding upgrades for future releases.

This is not just a theory, based on the above 2 points, and what we know about Microsoft, and also by researching the upgrade new feature lists for known Microsoft products, Microsoft could well be in the practice of holding onto already developed enhancements for future releases.

A quick example: Lets say that 2 great product enhancements are discovered, developed, tried and tested. Microsoft will break up the enhancements into 2 separate version upgrades, charging a fee to consumers for each upgrade. Please do some research into product features of Microsoft products, and you will find cases of this infringement on our rights to maximize their profits.

The deciding factor is competition, in markets where the competition factor is low or non existent, it would make business sense for Microsoft to apply this tactic, however where competition to Microsoft is perceived, naturally Microsoft cannot afford to hang onto important upgrades, and try earnestly to win the race to get these enhancements to the marketplace.

Signing us up for free testing programs.

At first glance Customer Experience Programs and Make Windows Better Programs appear to actually benefit us (the paying consumer), however a closer inspection of this methodology reveals Microsoft’s sinister motives behind such programs.  These are nothing more than brain schemes aimed at maximizing the base profits of Microsoft and Microsoft actually do away with whole testing departments thanks to our participation in these programs.

Don’t you think Microsoft, one of the wealthiest companies on the globe should put an end to getting us the PAYING CONSUMER to test their products, and instead create more jobs globally,  by employing more testers. and ACTUALLY properly testing their products.

The very fact that these programs exist show that Microsoft do not fully test their products.

They prey on the fact that we(the consumers) are so frustrated with our Microsoft Experiences that we will do ANYTHING to assist poor old Microsoft to make the whole experience better. Do you actually believe that the feedback you provide will somehow assist in the hastening of the development of computer operating systems, and by providing your participation you will actually see operating systems get to a point where they are released bug free and 100% working? I somehow doubt this very much, this sort of participation really shows how brain washed we are already. We not only pay huge fees for an incomplete product but we will gladly pay Microsoft to take on the role of a tester, AND PAY THEM FOR THIS HONOR. We will gladly help to fix the bugs so that the next version of windows or the product will contain no more bugs. But at the next release junction we are once again provided with a fresh wave of bugs, and once again are drafted into the testing role.

Let me remind you EVERY Microsoft Product is full of bugs at time of release.

Little do we know we are only enabling Microsoft to do away with the real test programs, Microsoft like a lot of companies are ignoring the test quality control phase, which results in a lot of frustration for the people who are using the software (and paying for it). Microsoft think they are really smart to have outfoxed us on this one (We pay Microsoft to test for them).

Releasing incomplete products (unpolished), and publishing lies on how great the product is.

Windows Vista says it all. 95% of Vista users feel they have been ripped off by Microsoft, having purchased a product that at first was hardly useable. A product that was so incomplete at the time of release, service pack development began the day after the release.

Another important fact behind Windows Vista is the “Wow Factor” Marketing. And the real user experience is quite far from “Wow staggering”, actually the whole Vista Experience feels like what would happen if you integrated Power point slides into the XP UI. The experience is also slower than XP. So how can this be good for computing in general? Please visit www.YouTube.com and tell me how many positive Windows Vista videos you can find.

These are just a few patterns I have noticed, if you notice anymore, please post some comments, thanks.

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