Desktop Computing Applications Need a Major Renovation in 2013

In an article entitled Subscribing to Office, Now and Forever, David Pogue, of the New York Times, notes “It must be tough to be on the Microsoft Office team. Year after year, you’re given the same assignment: add new features to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. New features that people will pay for, but that won’t turn Microsoft’s cash cow into a bloated, sloshing mess.” (quoted from David Pogue’s article, published on March 6, 2013, a link to which has been provided, above).

With enterprise IT in 2013 welcoming Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud offers gaining in popularity as the cloud becomes a more reliable option for CIOs, the Microsoft Office team update assignment should not have been the “same”. Mr. Pogue’s assessment indicates at least a marketing communications mistake on Microsoft’s part, and, perhaps, worse.

The marketing communications mistake amounts to Microsoft’s unsuccessful attempt to correctly educate the public about the Office 365 subscription offer. A successful effort would have introduced the Office 365 subscription offer to the public as the best choice to provide business users with all of the features of the premier suite of desktop computing applications anywhere, regardless of whether the computing device is a desktop PC, tablet, phablet, or even just a smart phone.

But, instead, the message got lost in the pricing; the cost of buying an off the shelf copy of the office suite, versus renting it through Office 365. We don’t think the price of the product is the key point at all, and, certainly, not the main reason for adding an Office 365 subscription option.

The real point of the Office 365 option can be found in the “office mobile apps” included with the 2013 version of the Office suite, and the “select set” of smaller size, mobile devices capable of exploiting the rich set of features offered by the suite of tools. Microsoft Office’s marketing communications team should have held off on any formal announcement of the new version of the suite until these points could have been communicated, with absolute clarity, to the public.

This post is published as an example to early stage ISVs of why the role of marketing communications is critically important to a successful product marketing effort. It makes sense to learn from Microsoft’s mistake.

Ira Michael Blonder

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

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