"You asked. We listened," says Microsoft, introducing the company's latest approach to Windows Phone marketing, a nod to its Windows Phone fans who have requested better ads. The software giant is struggling to win solid market share for its Windows Phone devices, and faces stiff competition from the likes of Google and Apple — who are both eating away customers and mindshare from Microsoft products and services. Microsoft's feeling the heat, and the company has started to bare its teeth in recent months.
The latest ads are direct and almost warlike. From newspaper adverts and parody videos of VMWare and Gmail, to the more recent attacks against Google. "Smoked by Windows Phone" joins the trend and started at CES in January as a small promotion designed to highlight some advantages of Windows Phone, following a similar social networking approach used in the #droidrage campaign. The company is now using this as a web marketing effort, running comparison videos of Windows Phone versus Android and iPhone devices on a number of web sites throughout February and March, including Forbes, Business Insider, and Entertainment Tonight.
Microsoft's days of dominance with Windows don't show any immediate signs of wearing thin, but the fight is on in search and mobile, and the direct approach from the company's battles with Google is rubbing off across the firm. Microsoft recently accused Flickr of ripping off SkyDrive's design, and Microsoft's Joe Belfiore was quick to note features that Apple implemented in iOS 5 were similar to Windows Phone.
One of the biggest new areas of competition for Windows, at least in the consumer space, is Apple's iPad and MacBook Air devices. Windows 8 gets its full debut next week at Mobile World Congress, and the world's eyes will be on Microsoft's latest work to create a touch friendly operating system coupled with sexy OEM hardware. Apart from the "I'm a PC" campaign, we haven't seen a whole lot of competitor-based marketing from the Windows group. With the recent change in approach across the firm, Windows marketing will surely have to follow suit. Windows on ARM, Microsoft's tablet strategy, will go head-to-head with the iPad from a marketing aspect, but it remains to be seen whether Windows tablets will be accepted or "smoked" by consumers.