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Windows 8 – What Will it Take for Microsoft to Win?

With the Windows 8 launch a few weeks away, Microsoft is gearing up to exercise its marketing muscle to make the biggest product launch in the history of the industry. Forbes says that they will be spending close to $1.8 billion on marketing campaigns to tell the world that THIS is different. I think it realizes that people will be hesitant to explore this newbie especially when the previous versions are doing the trick – most of the time. So the average Joe and that IT guy in the black suit need to see more carrots to call it their own.

Earlier this year InfoWorld did a review on this new entrant. From slicing and dicing the OS, it seemed lagging. The touch screen functionality no doubt is very fancy and forward looking but does not reward the users beyond that. Windows 8 is not as intuitive as 7 and the previous versions and when people have to spend time looking for the start button, it ain’t fun anymore. Moving from a Metro to desktop and back again especially on a touch-deprived monitor just doesn’t work. So then, what will make this sell – like ‘hot cakes’ as Microsoft envisions.

Reflecting back on the 4P’s of marketing, price definitely is one dimension. Making it available at a reachable price point will help with volume. Not making upgrades ultra-expensive would persuade some of the Joe’s to move away from legacy and embrace the new gen OS. I am talking about all of us – the XP, Vista, Windows7’s…..

The other huge piece of the pie could come from the new entrants – I mean folks who are getting a computer for the first time in their life. Yes, all the college kids excited to have something different to show off. Jokes apart – new entrants could be a big market for Microsoft if this product is positioned well. It definitely needs to overplay the touch screen capabilities as a major differentiator followed by the Metro UI. I am not sure if the Redmond geeks are thinking about running any promotions around this, but it’s still two weeks away, so they might have some aces up their sleeve, who knows! What we know is that they are going to go the Guinness for breaking their bank on creating the buzz.

Going back to how they can steal the share, Dell just announced that it has made 4PCs with Windows8 already available for pre-order and will also make Windows8 available on its XPA, Inspiron, Latitude, Optiplex and Precision brands. This partnership to make technology more accessible could be considered a right move and get mileage for both Microsoft and Dell. And Dell’s different suites of products with a large price range cater to all – from students to IT departments with BYOD landscape.

All things said and done, it is a wait and watch game. Let’s see what the ides of October bring for Microsoft.

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