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Microsoft’s video nasty

As a company often ridiculed for failing to move with the times, Microsoft deciding to release a video-based swipe at a rival could have been a good plan. After all, it would go ‘viral’ – very now...

And there was reason to believe it would do well. After all, Samsung recently did a pretty good job mocking the fanboys queuing up outside Apple stores all night. People seemed to like (and +1) that.

But it went wrong for Microsoft before the video had even been released. Instead of creating an ironic, light-hearted video, this effort smacked more of negativity. Despite raising a few ok points, it is so far wide of the mark in terms of getting you on Microsoft’s side that it would have been better had they not bothered.

The main thrust of the video is that Google are a search company trying to sell productivity solutions. And that in the past they have removed products for their portfolio that weren’t good enough.

True; products like Wave and Buzz were rubbish, and shelved as a result. But then the same is true of products such as would-be iTunes rival MSN Music and various other Microsoft products. This willingness to experiment should not be the main focus of Google-criticism (because, remember, there’s plenty of other things you could legitimately attack them for).

Microsoft’s message seems to be: ‘you have used Office for ages, so stick with us because we are not dynamic and we won’t change’. This is not necessarily a great message in an era of unprecedented and perpetuating technological advancement.

Content criticism aside though, where Microsoft really went wrong is with the tone and execution.

By producing a video lacking slightly in both humour and class, the branding exercise is a failure. The video has succeeded only in further highlighting the fact that maybe Microsoft doesn’t really ‘get it.’

And it is a shame because there is definitely room (need, even) for a successful Microsoft in our cloud-based future.

*It’s worth pointing out that, despite being equally negative, the anti-Gmail video Microsoft produced recently was quite a lot better than this one, and is worth a look. Though maybe some positive advertising would be welcome next time.