Windows Vista Launch a Success or Failure?

Windows Vista Launch a Success or Failure?

Here is a very interesting “case study” for those involved in marketing, especially technology marketing.

Have you heard of Windows Vista? Yes? Not surprising that, considering the amount of hype, press and advertising going on. Yet, did you know that the latest numbers released by NPD has put Windows Vista’s launch a dismal second to the fantastic performance of Windows XP?

Windows Vista actually managed to drop in unit sales (58% if the numbers are right) compared to Windows XP’s rocket-like performance.

We do not want to analyse this. Better brains than ours are doing it, I am sure. But what I would like to do is to propose a lesson that we of the more humble ilk can learn from this fumble of the giants. Let us look at some facts before we proceed.

  1. Windows Vista launched in January 2007. That is considered a “slow sales season”. Post Christmas. While Windows XP launched in October 2001, just in time for the Christmas frenzy.
  2. Windows XP was available on PCs a month before the boxes, while Windows Vista was available for both at the same time.
  3. Windows Vista has a “family discount” offer but Windows XP did not
  4. There are two more “versions” or “flavours” of Windows Vista compared to Windows XP.
  5. Windows XP launched less than 2 years after Windows Millenium Edition whereas Windows Vista was FIVE YEARS in coming.
  6. Massive marketing for Windows Vista.

Let’s think about what this means:

  • Since both PC and boxes launched at the same time, Windows Vista did not suffer from the problem where potential users would have already purchased the PCs.
  • With FIVE YEARS in between Windows Vista and Windows XP, there should be a huge pent up demand for Windows Vista
  • With more “flavours” available for Windows Vista, there should have been correspondingly more box sales
  • There was so much hype and awareness for Windows Vista relative to what was available for Windows XP then

I would like to take this and point out a very obvious, and not very clever observation for us – K. I. S. S.

Got that? Keep it simple and sharp!

The Windows Vista’s multiple flavours confused users and forced them to stop and think about which is the “most appropriate” version for their needs. It also stopped them from making an impulse buy because all the pricing were different. Feature-rich to the extreme, and confusing licensing rights added to a list of different pricing options will totally paralyse a buyer. Seems obvious to us, but then, hindsight is always perfect sight, yes? Yet, here is a valuable lesson for us.

Price is another consideration. Windows Vista was not just about the new Operating System. Associated with it was a requirement, yes, not an option, but a requirement, that hardware needs to meet certain standards. With the acknowledged average of 3 years for which users change (or purchase) computers, it is quite clear that there is a huge number of folks who has “just” purchased a computer and are unlikely to get a new one just so they can run Windows Vista. I don’t know if I am right, but this looks like a classic example of “leadership arrogance”. Like the whole world will upgrade their CPU, motherboards, BIOS, Video Cards and RAM just so they can run Windows Vista and see their spreadsheet or document scroll around in real 3D?

Anyway, we are not going to explore the details, where great minds would undoubtedly go. We just want to learn the simple lesson. Good marketing, effective marketing, leads to SALES. Beyond any doubt, the marketing execution and concepts for Windows Vista were great. Yet, now that sales are not as wonderful or are below expectations, do you think the marketing people will be praised or maligned?

So, to conclude this simple little piece. Let’s keep our marketing simple. If even big, big Microsoft fumble with a complex, multi-pronged product launch, let us mere mortals beware – let’s just do one launch at a time. Let’s do bite-sized marketing.

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[tag]window vista, technology marketing, marketing, marketing campaign, adveritisng campaign, sales of window vista [/tag]

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