Does Microsoft hate marketing?

November 25, 2011

 

In an Apple Insider account of a Forbes interview, Microsoft’s Chief Research & Strategy Officer Craig Mundie said the following about Apple’s new voice recgonition software, Siri:

 

The Tellme facility’s been in the Windows 7 phone for more than a year. So I mean I just think people are infatuated with Apple announcing [Siri].

 

And Mundie continued with this:

 

Maybe we need to pick a feature [like Siri] and hammer on it harder.

 

I’d assert that Mundie is a victim of (and perhaps a perpetrator of) a technical culture within Microsoft that doesn’t permit a savvy marketing culture.   Microsoft has a rich history of developing amazing technologies that they simply expect people to “get” or “discover” on their own without any help.   Mundie’s first statement above reminds me of the if a tree falls in the forest thought experiment — where, clearly, Microsoft feels the tree does make a sound, even if nobody is around to hear it.

 

Apple, on the other hand, appears to feel the opposite about that tree in the woods.  In other words, Apple doesn’t hope and pray people figure out what’s great about their iPhones.  No; Apple spends gobs of money educatingpeople on what is great about their new devices.

 

Which brings me to Mundie’s second statment.  This notion of “hammering” sounds to me like Mundie is not comfortable with marketing as a legitimate business activity.  He feels the the process of educating and informing is actually “hammering,” which linguistically tells me that Microsoft’s culture is actually hostile to marketing.  Hammering is verb that indicates an aggressive, painful process.  Not a helpful, useful one.

 

Words speak volumes about peoples’ perspectives and philosophies.  And I think Mundie unintentionally gave us a window into why Microsoft has such a difficult time conveying their value proposition to consumers.

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