Will a Microsoft launch ever generate the same level of interest enjoyed by Google and Apple lovers?By Mark Wilson on Saturday, Nov 2nd, 2013 at 11:51AM
There have been a number of big launches in few recent weeks. Apple unveiled the iPhone 5s and 5c as well as the iPad Air. Microsoft launched Windows 8.1, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. Google unleashed Android 4.4 KitKat and the Nexus 5 onto an excited and expectant crowd. Which of these launches is the most memorable?
Each launch was big in its own way, but I think it's extremely unlikely that many people would pick the Microsoft launches as being the biggest or most exciting. Apple and Google, on the other hand, manage to do any amazing job of whipping people up into an excited frenzy. Theirs are major events, eagerly anticipated weeks or even months in advance.
Microsoft's launches tend to be rather more understated affairs; they get the job done, but there's more of a polite round of applause that rapturous cheering and trumpeting. Apple's iPad and iPhone launches have had people around the world on the edge of their seats for months.
"We need more excitement. We want leaks and rumors. We want launches we can look forward to. We want surprises."
Can you remember the last time a Microsoft launch caused such excitement? With both and Apple and Google products, there are crowds of people waiting to hear the tiniest snippet of information about upcoming hardware and software. Leaked pictures find their way online and the hype machine is further wound up.
Sure, people "like" Microsoft products, but they seem to be viewed as everyday things -- not something to get overly excited about. When an iPhone is launched, people camp outside Apple stores days in advance. When the nexus 5 was released, it sold out very quickly, and shopping dates slipped almost immediately from one day to one week.
Microsoft - and Nokia - must look on with green eyes. No Windows Phone has caused such a groundswell. The second generation Surface sparked a degree of interest, but nothing compared to Microsoft's competitors.
Why is this? Is it because of Microsoft's image? Does the company not make enough fanfare about its products? What is it that Google and Apple understand about their customers that Microsoft seem to be missing? It is although Microsoft has adopted the idea of the slow-burner.
Windows was given a degree of promotion, but it is only with the arrival of Windows 8.1 some months later that interest is picking up. With Surface there were no huge launches. Microsoft seems to think the devices should speak for themselves and almost rely on customers spreading the word to help increase their popularity. Microsoft is in a position that it can afford to play the long game; it doesn't really need an instant hit.
It's actually quite a shame. Microsoft must like the idea of people working themselves into a frenzy at the prospect of the next version of Windows or Windows Phone. It must be difficult to look on as the likes of Google and Apple soak up adulation and Microsoft's offerings are picked up by the hardcore faithful.
One area in which Microsoft does manage to steal the show is with the Xbox. Here the company is able to revel in the customer anticipation that is usually reserved for other people's products. There is genuine excitement about the upcoming launch of the Xbox One. Perhaps the various departments of Microsoft need to get together and share ideas.
The company has a great deal to offer, but it is a danger of fading into the background like a dull uncle. We need more excitement. We want leaks and rumors. We want launches we can look forward to. We want surprises.
Microsoft should see Google and Apple explosive product launches and view them as a call to arms. Come on Microsoft! We know you’ve got it in you! Surprise us, excite us -- we can take it!