How enterprise IT ISVs manage publicity on new products can have a powerful effect on the success, or failure, of new product launches. For example, Microsoft recently debuted new software for the Windows Phone. Despite some favorable opinion, our overall impression of public opinion about the quality of this new software was largely negative. True, some prominent reviews spoke favorably of either the HTC 8X Windows Phone, or Nokia’s Lumia 920, but the median impression that we had of the marketplace quality assessment of Microsoft’s technology was less than top rank.
We were, therefore, very surprised when we acquired an HTC 8X Windows Phone as upgrade from a Motorola Droid 2 smart phone that we had been using since December, 2010. In fact, we think Windows Phone 8 is great software. The lack of clutter on the phone’s touch display, the quick response of the phone as applications are called into use, the absolute ease of set up on email accounts, are all very strong features for us.
So why the disconnect with popular critics from the smart phone marketplace? As we do no business whatsoever with Microsoft, we cannot say why the publicity campaign took the course that it evidently did, but we can point out that the course the campaign apparently took would be a problem for any enterprise IT ISV looking to enter the market with an offer like Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software. Management should have anticipated the response of prominent critics, and taken steps to avert the path that the actual launch took.
Only now, on December 5, 2012, nearly a month since the actual launch of Windows Phones by Microsoft OEMs (including Nokia, HTC & Samsung), can we find a very positive review of this technology — Is Nokia’s Lumia 920 the best smartphone of 2012?.
We think the negative press that met the debut of this product line could have been avoided had more care been exercised. While it is certainly the case that critics cannot be told what to write, products must be correctly positioned, and, then, presented for review. It may make sense for a product management team to hand pick a set of critics for a first set of reviews, to ensure that accurate, but fair opinions are publicized about products. With this point in mind, we fail to see why some critics, with a clear recent past history of looking more favorably on products from Apple, or Google, were selected as early reviewers for the technology. In fact, we think that the set of early decisions on public relations efforts for this product line suggest a kind of self destructive behavior. Therefore, the departure of Mr. Steven Sinofsky makes much more sense, and, in fact, indicates a healthy trend on the part of Microsoft towards improving its efforts at managing public relations and marketing communications as it introduces new products to markets.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved