Whether you think that Windows 8 represents a return to “cool” for Microsoft or a last throw of the dice, there’s no denying the fact that it’s important. Microsoft gets that too.
If you want proof, you need look no further than the fact that the Redmond-based giant is set to pump upwards of US$1.5-billion worth of marketing into the new OS. According to Forbes, that makes it the largest campaign for a single product in the history of the industry. It’s definitely a hell of a lot more than the US$200-million, the company spent marketing Windows 95.
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According to tech analysis company Enderle, “the marketing effort is on a scale you don’t see outside presidential elections.”
Then again, Microsoft has to sell this one hard. It’s the most radical shift in the Windows platform since 95. Everything people have come to take for granted since that seminal release is gone. Sure you can get the “traditional” look if you want, but the vast majority of people won’t be all that comfortable with the idea that things aren’t where they want them to be.
Getting the early adopters is relatively easy, but they generally aren’t the mainstay of Microsoft’s user base. It’s everyday people who haven’t been following and trying out every developer preview of Windows 8 that’s come out over the past few months.
Making the upgrades cheaper will also help. The lower price point means that, for a fair percentage of Microsoft’s user base at least, this will be the first upgrade since Windows XP.
It also needs to convince those people who the OS they’ve “always used” in on their desktop computers is ready to play in a Post PC world. Remember Windows 8 is all about building an ecosystem. But if it’s going to succeed, people have to buy into that ecosystem. It’s no accident that its Surface tablet is set to drop on the same day as Windows 8.
Microsoft needs to make sure the same people upgrading to Windows 8 get it in their heads that tablets don’t necessarily equal iPads anymore.
US$1.5-billion certainly isn’t a dollar short, but is it a day late?