Focus Microsoft! Focus!

I know Microsoft is large and has a lot of resources;  I am pleading that we as a company can focus on something that would have more impact than creating another MP3 player.  I am referring to our new strategy to take on the iPod (again) outlined on  This just seems like a another distraction when we could be focusing more energy on competiting with companies who have a home and enterprise presence like Google.  What does another MP3 player get us in the end?  No need in telling me how Microsoft wants to be running the Windows OS everywhere.  I would rather see us be more focused on being the next great service provider (** ahem ** think services here).  Services that span across lots of devices and appliacations running a diverse set of operating systems.  We can have a greater impact on both the home computing and enterprise markets versus chasing the iPod.

My parents and most of my friends could really care less about buying a Windows powered MP3 player.  It is kind of like really caring if your old walkman was from Sony or not.

It is time for Microsoft as a company to move on from focusing only on Windows and Office dominance to the next big thing, what ever the next big thing happens to be and stay focused on being the best in the business. 

Note:  Advertising is not the next big thing it is the current thing.


Comments (8)

  1. Sean.McLellan says:

    "really care less about buying a Windows powered MP3 player"

    But you already can get a Windows powered MP3 player… and it’s a good one at that..

    IMO MS has done a fairly good job with the hardware they do produce in the keyboard, mouse and gaming console arena… the same argument could have been made (and probably were) when the decision was made by MS to branch into these target markets, and right now the 360 and the other hardware devices are pretty darn good. Is it not concievable for MS to further advance the MP3 player area — and make money while doing it?

    I don’t care about branding either, but if MS can provide a MP3 player that has a set of features and functionality that sets it apart from the rest of the market, and provides an alternative to the iPod, that’s good for me.

    The original statement to ‘focus’ is valid I think, though… how much better could the existing core products (Windows, Office, Developer Tools, Services) be if more resources were put into them…

    which would MS get the most back from, 100 bucks spent to get into an entirely new market (MP3), or 100 bucks spent to further existing product, with the thought in mind that infinate resources don’t equate to infinately better product.

  2. Jeff Parker says:

    You know I agree with you. I am personally not an Ipod fan I prefer my Creative Zen Vision M. It really does a good job at what I want it to do. My suggestion would be for Microsoft to promote the MSN Music store. You have no idea how many people I told about it that had no idea it existed and once they tried it preferred it. I personally prefer it over all the others. Needs more titles and some more older ones but overall it is a very good store. It integrates right with Windows Media Player and of course Media Player integrates right with the Zen so in my world everything is perfect I don’t need Itunes or anything else.

    You know it may seem hard for a technology company to understand and one of Microsoft’s main problems. Look at how busy the MSN pages are, not the Music store but MSN, look at how busy our lives are, we go to meetings, we answer our cell phones constantly people look more and more like the borg everyday with blue tooth devices stuck in our ear. Busy, Busy, Busy, advertising everywhere you look something constantly going on. You know why I like my Zen MP3 player and why the Ipod is such a big hit. It is just plain simple and when you are listening to music sometimes you just want to get away from all the technology, you want to be free, you do not want to carry your email around with you or your calendar and schedule with you when you are out for a run or when you are sitting at the beach, that the point or at least I think so. Microsoft while yes has made our live so much easier with computers and operating systems and office, exchange, project and all the Microsoft products. However all these things have also made our lives busier. Why are the MP3 players such a big hit and why is there such a craze for them. Because it is technology that takes us to a much simpler place and lets us escape this busy world even just for a moment. Heck you know one thing my Zen has made me do. When I go out for a bike ride or beach or a BBQ or something along those lines. I leave my windows Mobile Cell phone at home or I leave it in the car at least and all the baggage I carry with me is my music, my personality and enjoy my time away from the busy world.

  3. Andrew says:

    While I think the portable music player category in isolation is meaningless, it may be important when you tie it into media in general. Media is very very important to Microsoft, and maybe they are trying to capture the market at its source. iPod -> iTunes on PC -> Apple store. When it should be Microsoft player -> WMP -> Urge. And there are a lot of other implications if iTunes is the most used player on the PC. People will want to watch their videos and so forth also in iTunes (even though it is a piece of ….). So there are many markets that begin at the personal music player.

    As for why iPod is still the dominant player: looks. It astonishes me how ugly the competitors still manage to be. I guess it is hard to make something as good-looking as the iPod. It is a classic design. Until someone can make something as good-looking, their will be no competition.

    Personally I dont use portable music players. I think it is anti-social and stupid to have those things stuck in your ear in many usage situations.

  4. Garry Trinder says:

    If MS does do this, I think they should go for a big advertising push on TV. The main reason I think the iPod has done so well against the rest of the market which was around before it is because Apple bombards you with TV ads while you hardly ever see ads from competitors.

    The competition needs to stop thinking that product announcements begin and end with the internet, and start producing ads for television so they can connect with the wider, less PC-literate market. People need to know a product exists before they can contemplate purchasing it. Even MS could do better in this respect as Windows, XBOX, and some Office products get TV time but few other products do (especially those aimed at home consumers). It took a good while after release for the Tablet PC and MCE, for example, to get TV exposure, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen any TV ads for Portable Media Centers.

    Granted, most of the above platforms should be advertised by the IHVs, but if they drop the ball, it couldn’t hurt for MS to fund a few ads or an infomercial covering several IHV products and evangelizing the platform as a whole — even covering several platforms in a related market, like Tablet PCs and Windows Mobile devices in one infomercial about the mobile device market. Something similar the the old Microsoft Insider Live show (though with an airtime schedule more like the WebTV infomercials) should fit the bill.

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