Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

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WHEN IS IT TIME TO CHANGE?

February 12, 2014

Many companies need profits to disappear before changing. Others try to recognize change while they are still highly profitable. Microsoft is one of the latter. Its new CEO is following the advice in my book: Embrace change. (I actually developed this concept while doing training for Microsoft years ago).

Microsoft continues to churn out big profits. But they are missing some growth areas as more computer chores shift online. Microsoft remains dependent on three key products—Windows, Microsoft Office and related software to run back-end computing gear. Plus, they are deeply tied to the sales of Windows-powered PCs, a slowing market. Their improved search engine, Bing, and their successful Xbox videogame system don’t add much to the bottom-line.

Are you a local Microsoft, living off a few great products and seeing others taking a new highway past you? If so, it’s time to embrace change. Gather up your team and challenge them to look into the future. Where are the opportunities in 2015 and beyond?

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HOW FAST CAN YOU SHIFT DIRECTIONS?

July 22, 2013

The two big dogs of the computer world, Microsoft and Apple, took two different roads to success; software (Windows) and hardware (Apple). Now these two worlds are merging quickly.

Microsoft’s restructuring completes a yearlong effort to shift its identity away from being a software producer to a firm known for devices—designed by Microsoft or by partners—and services that are closely tailored to work with that hardware. The strategy shift is similar to what Apple has done all along and what Google is also trying to accomplish.

The main marketing reason for this shift is that the personal computer market is disappearing in a sea of tablets and smartphones. Global sales of personal computers have fallen for the fifth quarter in a row. What are you doing to make sure your product or service is available on tablets and smartphones? How fast can you change?

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WHEN BEHIND, DON’T GIVE UP

May 9, 2013

Reflecting on my Samsung post (May 3rd, When You Are Leading, Lead More), Barnes & Noble’s Nook HD is facing just the opposite challenge. Nook revenue is down 26% for the quarter ended in late January. So, they are adding Google’s Android app store along with other Google services such as Gmail and Google Maps to Nook HD readers. They are desperate to be more competitive with rival tablets.

This move isn’t entirely risk free. The Android app store includes a Kindle Tablet app, which consumers could use to bypass the Nook store altogether. But when you are behind, taking risks is just what you have to do.

The most interesting news today, reported by Wall St. Journal’s William Launder, is that Microsoft is considering buying the digital assets of Nook Media (e-books, Nook e-readers and tablets) for around $1 billion. This could give a lifeline to Nook and give Microsoft a stronger tablet product line. As I said, when you are behind, don’t give up, keep looking for strategic partnerships.

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LIFE AFTER BABY BOOMERS

January 16, 2013

Baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, still have most of the disposable income in this economy. In fact, they have weathered the great recession far better than younger consumers and they will continue to be a driving consumer force for another decade. But as I mentioned in my last post about late night TV, savvy businesses are realizing that consumers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s rival the size of the baby boomer generation. These consumers are now looking for less expensive products that they “perceive” as having real brand value (i.e. they admire the brand and want to be able to afford it).

That’s one reason Apple is working on a less expensive iPhone. They want to use their brand leadership to capture younger cell phone users from Android, Google and Microsoft. They are not alone. BMW just unveiled a new 3 Series sedan with a starting price about $4,000 less than its current least-expensive $37,000 3 Series. Mercedes-Benz’s new 4-cylinder sedan could be priced below $30,000. And Audi is also working on a 2014 version of its A3 compact with a price in the mid- to high $20,000 range.

If your core consumer is the baby boomer, you need to continue to market to them. But you also need to be asking yourself what are you doing to make sure your product or service appeals to consumers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s? It will probably take a different product and pricing strategy.