Microsoft’s brand recognition issue

Published: October 6th, 2009
Can you discuss why Google Inc.'s Android smart phone operating system's open source architecture is a significant development in the mobile applications market? How Apple Inc.'s iPhone changed the mobile world with its slick, user-friendly interface and tight music and applications integration? The virtues of Palm Inc.'s webOS versus those of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile?
Apparently, we're in the minority.
This just in from Web site The Inquirer (actual slogan this week: “I spellchick all my girlfriends”): A “senior Vole” at Microsoft's launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 in London told the assembled that people make their mobile phone-buying decisions based on the handset's make and features, and the vast majority couldn't give a rat's about the app stores backing them up.
“According to the Vole's own focus groups, only around 10 per cent of people actually said, or at least admitted, that they knew that Windows was available on mobile phones,” writes Ian Williams, under the headline, “No one know or cares that Microsoft has a phone OS.” (Ouch — Editor.)
While the notion of Redmond having a brand-recognition is, with apologies to Wallace Shawn, incontheiveable, the answer is likely only a kajillion-dollar marketing campaign away.
Grain of salt alert: Apple's has served up more that one billion iPhone downloads, so the claim that app stores are irrelevant to most rings a little hollow — especially with Microsoft launching its own app store. Do I smell smokescreen?

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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