When I suggested that BlackBerry10 would be dead on arrival it created some passionate responses. BlackBerry 10 is GREAT technology, I was told. I never said it wasn’t [I actually don’t know how good or bad it is yet]. I was told my view was sour grapes because I hadn’t been given a sneak preview. I’m not a developer or an analyst – or a mobile industry influencer. I’m a marketeer [so, there is no reason for RIM to give me a sneak preview]. I was told that RIM was marketing to the developer community [this isn’t going to persuade any end-users to choose a BlackBerry10 device over an iPhone or Android handset], and that it was too early to market for a launch, which – at that point – was still only defined as ‘Q1 2013’ [this misunderstands the scale of RIM’s problem].
The reason for taking the position that I did was based solely on what I was seeing [or wasn’t seeing] from RIM in terms of marketing to end-users. People like me. RIM has a much larger problem than BlackBerry 10 – it’s called perception. People don’t think the company, or its handsets, are cool. Heck, new Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer doesn’t even think they are smartphones
So, when I read this story from Business Insider – about sales of Microsoft’s Windows 8 in its first month and it’s exactly what I was talking about when I talked about BlackBerry 10. Sales of Windows 8 are awful – down 21% year-on-year. Windows 8 tablet sales are “almost non-existent’ – just 1% of total sales. Why? It’s not the product… the product is, I’m reliably told by people who know, good. It’s very good.
And this despite a comprehensive and expensive multi-channel marketing and PR campaign. The problem is, the problem is the marketing.
Here’s a couple of examples:
It’s not the execution. Or the idea per se. The concept of a single operating system for both laptop and tablet devices is quite clever. Many would argue it makes sense. But, Microsoft has failed to do do the one thing that would make Windows 8 a success – it failed to give consumers a reason to buy either the operating system, or hardware running it. Or both. And, as a result, it has failed to create demand.
It’s ‘Everything At Once’ strap line has failed to differentiate between the new desktop, tablet and mobile OS. Windows 8 is a radical shift for Windows PC users and, as yet, Microsoft has failed to convince them to vote with their hard-earned cash. It’s unclear from the commercials and PR whether you need to buy a new device in order to use Windows 8 [the ones I’ve seen give you the impression that Windows 8 is all about a new hardware and software package].
There’s nothing to suggest that you can use it on existing machines, or that Windows 8 offers users the ability to revert to traditional desktop view. Microsoft has not provided customers or prospects with an easy – or cost-effective – migration from 7 to 8 either way. When you realize it can be used on some existing PCs Microsoft wants you to download an ‘upgrade assistant’ to tell you whether your existing system is suitable for upgrade. A download to find out if you can download something else!
Things may and, based on a brief play on a new Windows 8 machine this weekend, should improve for Microsoft but Microsoft has missed a huge opportunity to make a splash with its new operating system. I fear it’ll be the same for BlackBerry when 10 arrives at the end of January.
Read my other posts on BlackBerry