Dear Microsoft, it’s time to start acting like a leader again

October 6th, 2015


Microsoft, please sit down.

Look, I know you’ve had a hard time lately. Vista was a huge distraction, allowing Apple and Google to sneak in to dominate phones and tablets with their lightweight and finger-friendly operating systems. Even your Nokia mole couldn’t salvage things. Then there was that $900 million accounting charge to write-off unsold Surface inventory back in 2013. It’s been a tough decade.

But you’ve got a winner with your Surface Pro 3 and Windows 10, having finally seen Windows RT for the folly that it was. Your Surface product line is now turning a profit after sales finally exceeded manufacturing costs last year. And with tablet sales continuing to decline in the so-called "post PC" era, the competition is responding with the Apple iPad Pro and Google Pixel C. It’s time to buck up and double down, Microsoft.

With the improved Surface Pro 4 (and a second, mystery Surface) launching later today, you need a new marketing message. Stop calling out the competition by name. Stop directly comparing your category-defining hybrid to the MacBook AiriPad, and Galaxy Tab in your advertising. You’ll never hear Coke name Pepsi in its ads. Coke is the "real thing" — it’s the original. Pepsi is the implied imitator — we all know this without Coke ever having to say it. That’s how winners talk.

So let’s see some confidence, Microsoft. You're a leader again, it’s time to start acting like one.

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