Paul Thurrott on What Microsoft Can Learn From the iPad

Advice to Microsoft from Paul Thurrott:

And if you’re looking to copy Apple’s success — and you are — then at least do it right. It’s not about the products at all. What Apple does right is marketing. It’s form over function, plain and simple. How else could the world be so excited over an unnecessary over-sized iPod touch? Because it’s from Apple, that’s how. And the press markets it for them, and makes people believe that this is somehow a big deal. It’s a self-replicating back-patting, buddy system, plain and simple.

Needless to say, I think he’s got it all wrong — that the iPad’s success is all about the quality, design, and price (remember, in January, most people expected Apple’s tablet to start at $999) — of the product itself. Their marketing for it, just like that of the iPhone, is simply about showing people what it does and how it works. Someone who doesn’t see the profound appeal of the iPad, though, is bound to disagree with my assessment.

And you’re not part of the circle, Microsoft. How else can you explain the ginormous Windows 7 sales that get no attention, and certainly no love from Wall Street? You’ve sold over 100 million licenses of this thing in record time and all anyone can talk about are lost iPhones and the iPad. I mean, give me a break.

The way Wall Street works is fairly simple — albeit, not always reasonable or fair. What drives stock prices forward are new endeavors. Stock prices rise when investors predict fantastic growth ahead. Windows 7 has indeed been a grand success for Microsoft. I’ll bet Office 2010 will be too. But these are the same two grand successes Microsoft has had for 20 years. Windows and Office, over and over. Their stock has been stagnant for a decade because their growth into new markets has been stagnant for a decade.

Apple’s stock is rising because Apple seems poised to capture a new market.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010