ISVs Should Thoroughly Manage Public Relations Efforts for New Products to Capture Targeted Results

Public relations collateral — press releases, news articles, public appearances — must be micro managed by ISVs to produce targeted results. Microsoft® recently debuted a free app for Office for the iPhone. The public relations campaign for this product should have been better managed to provide Microsoft with a product introduction to the small, smart mobile device market worth the effort.

The iPhone Office app breaks new ground. Microsoft eschews the recent strategy of forcing markets into the Microsoft scalable computing architecture (including PCs, the Surface Tablet, and Windows Phone 8), and, instead, brings the Office suite to the most prominent example of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in enterprise computing, the iPhone. So this should be a huge win, with substantial public approval, right?

Not so fast. The Wall Street Journal editorial team, a set of entrenched Microsoft skeptics, managed to turn this very promising new product and the new direction in product marketing it exemplifies, into a no better than a “C-” quality set of announcements. On June 18, 2013, Ms. Katherine Boehret, produced a write up on the iPhone Office app launch for the Journal’s “The Digital Solution” column: At Work With Microsoft Office on an iPhone .

We think Microsoft’s Public Relations team should have better managed Ms. Boehret’s introduction to this product. The point she makes about the need for an Office 365 account, for example, is really not an issue for what we can’t help but take to be the market for this app: employees working for enterprise businesses. Most of these organizations maintain Office 365 accounts. So the $100.00 annual cost for a basic subscription to Office 365 will not be an impediment to enterprise IT’s plan to outfit personnel with this app.

Her point about a missing Outlook component for the app is also not much of an issue. Microsoft recently debuted Outlook as a cloud application, which will certainly be accessible to any iPhone owner with the above mentioned Office 365 account. In fact, it’s easy to sign up for the free Outlook online Software as a Service (SaaS) offer without an Office 365 account.

But these points were portrayed in her article as big issues, marring an otherwise “beautiful” app. To repeat: we think Microsoft’s Public Relations team could have done a better job introducing Ms. Boehret to this new product. Perhaps her observations of internal struggle at Microsoft about the new strategy as a reason for the less than satisfactory design of the iPhone Office app are accurate.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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