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Is it time for Microsoft to drop the Windows branding?

    General discussion

  • "Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is a solid product that suffered from one fatal flaw: The burden and baggage of the Windows brand....One of the reasons people love smartphones and tablets so much is that they aren’t as complicated and confusing as the Windows computers that they’ve been using for years. Other than the small-but-rabid cadre of Windows enthusiasts, most people shudder when they think about having a phone that runs like Windows. The last thing they want is a device that locks up for no apparent reason, gradually gets slower over time, and is constantly getting bogged down by spyware, malware, and crapware."

    http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/hiner/xphone-how-microsoft-could-have-won-in-mobile-in-2011/9932?tag=content;siu-container

    Consider that WP7 is a solid product that consistently gets positive reviews by nearly every major publication.  Yet, it only has about 2% of the market. 

    Should Windows 8 drop the Windows branding? 

    Alternatively, how about releasing two versions? 

    - A version with the Aero UI only.  This could be branded Windows 8.

    - A version with the Metro UI only.  This would be branded by something other than Windows.

    Might this be the only way to save Windows?


    • Edited by I-DotNET Monday, December 19, 2011 9:43 PM Spelling.
    Monday, December 19, 2011 5:59 PM

All replies

  • I do agree with you that Windows 8 should at least offer the Aero UI in some way, preferably two different releases. In my previous thread, "Windows 8 - Desktop, not a tablet PC... Help?" I covered this, "Please give us, or at least people like me, some sort of an option to TURN OFF this efficient or lightweight desktop look and feel. Windows 7 was great the way it was, and so was XP" because Metro is "quite an inconvenience for me" (in the words of Albert Wesker.) I really don't like Metro and I really hope in the final release, Aero is available in some fashion. I personally would rather have two different releases, that way I wouldn't have the Metro UI on my system at all, nor even a way to fallback to it. Metro is an embarrassment to my high-power PC and I don't like the big enormous buttons. I feel like I'm in an elementary school, using some little kid's computer, to do his math homework on. I'm really not THAT uncoordinated to have such big huge buttons all over the screen..
    Monday, December 19, 2011 8:05 PM
  • @I-DotNET

    Actually, splitting Windows 8 into two operating systems (one Windows and one called something else) might not be a bad idea, but the name "Windows" creates an image of a powerful, user-friendly OS, which another name would probably not do.

    Monday, December 19, 2011 8:09 PM
  • Microsoft is facing a huge image problem.  Kids today view Windows as something their father runs at work.  The success of the iPhone and iPad shows consumers don't want complicated devices.
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 1:50 PM
  • Kids today view Windows as something their father runs at work. 
    That's only true for some people. Personally, I have never understood the new emphasis on mobile/smartphones. Smartphones are good for some things, but I always wonder when people will eventually figure out how limited smartphones can be if you're not using Facebook. Smartphones usually work best for portable gaming, using the Internet, and taking pictures. It's hard to do real work on a smartphone.
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:02 PM
  • Kids today view Windows as something their father runs at work. 
    That's only true for some people.

    If I may ask, how old are you?
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:06 PM
  • I'm young enough that I'm part of the group that has practically grown up with Apple devices (mainly the iPod).

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:13 PM
  • I'm young enough that I'm part of the group that has practically grown up with Apple devices. Microsoft would definitely not expect someone from my age group to react to Metro the way I did.


    Well, then you're one of the exceptions.  If you look at the smart phone market overall, Android controls 42.8% of the market, iOS 28.3% and WP7 only 1.2%:

    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/google-and-apple-are-both-winners-in-mobile-race-report-says/

    Clearly, something is wrong.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:30 PM
  • What does that mean?

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:41 PM
  • Clearly, something is wrong.


    What does that mean?


    What I said in the first post.  The Windows brand is a liability in the phone and tablet markets.  Most consumers in these markets (not all, but most) have a negative perception of Windows.  The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to split Windows 8 into two different SKUs. 

    Microsoft is a company in decline.  They need to do something to reverse the tide.


    • Edited by I-DotNET Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:43 PM Clarify.
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:43 PM
  • I agree - Windows 8 should be split into two different operating systems. Based on what I've read online, Microsoft already seems to be moving in that direction.

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:48 PM
  • I agree - Windows 8 should be split into two different operating systems. Based on what I've read online, Microsoft already seems to be moving in that direction.
    Where do you read that?
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 8:57 PM
  • The current rumor is that Windows 8 won't include the desktop on ARM devices.
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:02 PM
  • The current rumor is that Windows 8 won't include the desktop on ARM devices.

    Yes, but are they still going to brand it "Windows"? 
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:05 PM
  • Personally, I have never understood the new emphasis on mobile/smartphones.

    Smart phones will most likely be a bigger market.  Not everyone needs or wants a computer, but almost everyone will want a smart phone.  Plus, the upgrade cycle for smart phones is much more frequent.  Unlike desktops, smart phones can be dropped, stolen, rained on, lost, etc. 

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:30 PM
  • The current rumor is that Windows 8 won't include the desktop on ARM devices.
    OK, but that's not what I was thinking two different operating systems meant.
     
    Personally, I think not putting the desktop on ARM is a good idea.
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP
    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:28 AM
  •  
    Personally, I think not putting the desktop on ARM is a good idea.
     

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP


    I'm not sure that's enough.  Anything with the Windows brand (other than on desktops and laptops) seems to be liability. Consider:

    - The WP7 is branded it as "Windows Phone" and only has 1.2% of the market.

    - The XBox 360 is not branded as a Windows gaming console and (depending on how you do the numbers) the XBox 360 is either the #1 or #2 in the console game market. 

    At this point, I think Microsoft should seriously consider dropping the "Windows" branding for tablets.  They should market it as a brand new OS. 





    • Edited by I-DotNET Wednesday, December 21, 2011 3:26 PM Tweak.
    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 2:32 PM
  • I like the weekend marketeers here.  It is great to see that you guys have it all figured out.

    Windows 7 is quite a good brand.  It has been touted as the best windows yet, and usage is up.  0.5 Billion (with a "B") licenses?  Yeah, seems like a slacker to me.  

    "Anything with the Windows brand (other than desktops and laptops) ...."

    Okay, that means that Windows is great for over a billion machines.  I think that problem is survivable.

    Windows Phone 7 is only about a year old.   It will slowly gain maket share.   The market share of 1.5% quoted is probably already too low, given that Nokia just announced and started shipping their phones. Nokia phones are selling well, and so are the next gen phones brought out by HTC and Samsung.  Windows Phone 7 is being held back by lack of salesperson support and the propensity of the carriers to want to sell dirt-cheap Android malware magnets that cost the carriers very little and on which they can sell their overpriced data plans with very limited maximum data amounts.  Still, it will slowly gain share because it is something different, and something built more for the masses than geeks.   Windows Phone 7 also has great apps and the fastest growing marketplace in the history of apps.   Give it time .. it will get there.

    XBox 360 doing well has nothing to do with branding.  It has to do with it being the best console, with the best games out there, and now with the controller-less technology, it just beats everything else hands-down.   What Microsoft realized here is that there is another market -- that of the casual gamer who doesn't want to pick up a controller -- someone who wants to even stand up and "exercise" when they play.  That market, added to the "hardcore" gamer market, is huge.

    Did you guys also write to FORD and try to get them to change their brand?  Just curious ....

     


    -- me --
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 1:20 AM
  • That report is from Q3 2011, before Mango was released, before Nokia shipped their phones, and before the new HTC and Samsung phones.

    Just wait until about Q2 of 2012 and check it again.  I think you'll find a different story.  Will it be 10%, or even 5%, probably not, but it will be up.  Up is good.

    BTW, dropping the Windows brand would be quite different than merely splitting into several SKU's.  I expect that they will split Windows into separate SKU's as they always have.

    -e


    -- me --
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 1:28 AM
  • @Chief Scientist

    I like the Windows brand. I don't use Windows because it comes with a PC, I use it because I like it. The Windows brand creates a positive view of the product, suggesting that it will work well and be highly capable. Even though there were a few bad Windows versions (Windows ME), the Windows brand has also included some great products such as Windows 95, Windows XP, and (in my opinion) Windows Vista. I don't think Windows Phone 7 is failing because it's called "Windows Phone" - it's probably failing due to a lack of brand recognition and the fact that Windows Phone 7 was missing key features at launch. That's not a branding issue, and even customers who have an automatic reaction of dislike to the Windows brand can be convinced to buy a product.

    Saturday, December 24, 2011 1:29 AM
  • I don't believe that Windows Phone 7 is failing, but the rest of your comment I like.

    However, I do think that a lot of users of Windows Mobile think that Windows Phone is the same thing, and it is taking us Windows Phone users a lot of effort to reverse that trend.

    Anyway, this is a tech blog, not a marketing one, so I'll just bow out now.  

    Enjoy Windows products, whatever they are, and if you like them, tell people.

    Happy Holidays!

    -e


    -- me --
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 3:20 AM
  • When I said "failing," I really meant "not doing well." My mistake.
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 11:12 AM
  • "Nokia phones are selling well, and so are the next gen phones brought out by HTC and Samsung." 

    Nobody has released any definitive numbers but the reports so far are mixed:

    New Nokia smartphone fails to turn tide

    http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/technology/new-nokia-smartphone-fails-to-turn-tide_639177.html

    "XBox 360 doing well has nothing to do with branding." 

    You're definitely wrong on this one.  Microsoft deliberately avoided branding it as a Microsoft product.  (Go search news archives if you want cites.)  I don't know if this number is correct, but according to a recent Windows Weekly podcast, 60% of XBox owners don't even know the XBox is made by Microsoft.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011 3:58 PM
  • According to the latest numbers by ComScore, Microsoft just lost 0.5% of their share of the smartphone market.  Unfortunately, they don't differentiate between Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/30/comscore-android-up-rim-down-water-wet/

    Other than the XBox, Microsoft has never has never had a successful consumer level product.  The Zune, the Kin, etc. were all failures.

    This occurred to me the other day: Perhaps Microsoft has already come to the conclusion that Metro tablets will be branded differently, but just haven't announced it to yet.  This might explain why MS is saying that the next version of windows is code-named Windows 8.  Maybe it will have a different product name? 

    Friday, December 30, 2011 6:10 PM
  • Other than the XBox, Microsoft has never has never had a successful consumer level product.  The Zune, the Kin, etc. were all failures.


    Is Windows not a consumer-level product?
    Friday, December 30, 2011 6:46 PM
  • When I use the term 'consumer-level product' I'm referring to the new generation of computing devices that appeal to non-techie and non-business users.  Sorry, I realize that's kind of a nebulous definition, but it's the best I could come up with off the top of my head.

    But even if you include PCs in this category (which I don't), I could have said:

    "Other than the XBox, Microsoft has not had a new, successful consumer level product in 20 years."

    The point I'm getting it is that Microsoft has a lot of trouble being successful in new markets. 

    BTW, I seem to recall (although I cannot find it now) a really old Microsoft ad (late 70s/early 80s) that says something to the effect that PCs are so easy to use, you can write your own programs for it.

    Friday, December 30, 2011 7:12 PM
  • BTW, I seem to recall (although I cannot find it now) a really old Microsoft ad (late 70s/early 80s) that says something to the effect that PCs are so easy to use, you can write your own programs for it.


    I don't know whether that was ever true or not, but it might have been. See here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jensenh/archive/2005/10/20/483041.aspx

    Either way, the idea of people writing their own programs never became popular. I myself am not a programmer.

    Friday, December 30, 2011 7:35 PM