--- In email@example.com
, John Kaufmann <kaufmann@n...
> I have to take issue, though, with what IMHO is a
> misleading take on the history of WP's demise: The issue
> was less technical - who had the first GUI Windows word
> processor than it was Microsoft's understanding of how to
> exploit their Windows position to push their applications
You're right, but I've heard that MS exploited their
position on the technical side too, as in a version of
Windows wasn't ready to ship until it made WP and Lotus
crash. Just what I've heard, but a fascinating possibility.
> Microsoft has always won by understanding that good
> marketing - even if it means skirting the anti-trust laws
> - beats good products.
They've always had the best advertising I've ever seen. WP
had some of the worst.
I think WP was especially good at listening to its customers,
and the depth of implementation of most features was better
than the competition. One mistake WP made was not starting
Windows development early and earnestly enough; another
was in advertising. Reminded me of AT&T after the breakup:
quality products, which they didn't know how to sell.
The first WP Mac ad I remember had three guys all wearing
that party-gag disguise with the mustache and bushy
eyebrows glued on to the glasses rims, and the text gave
the reader an address to write to (this was pre-web) for
information on why he or she should use WP. The next ad I
remember had a woman sitting on the floor, typing at a Mac
that was also on the floor. Her hair style, makeup and clothes
suggested she had a boyfriend who carried his Marlboros
rolled up in the sleeve of his T-shirt and wore a baseball cap
with a Budweiser logo. Nice people to be sure, but not the
best examples for advertising a serious writing tool. In any
case, the woman would not have been able to write for very
long, there on the floor, without getting a sore back. And we
must all remember the "used to play a tuba" ads, until WP
stopped running them after complaints from players of that
By contrast, MS advertising is superb. A memorable ad for
Word showed three people on the steps of a public building.
Their names mentioned in the text, and certain features of
clothes and architecture, suggested northern Europe. The
two older people clearly thought for a living, and were
good at it. Their faces reflected depth and care. The
younger person with them has not lived as they have, but
his face showed intelligence, interest and seriousness of
purpose. They of course used Word and the ad, rather than
giving the reader an address to write to in order to learn
why, articulately and persuasively explained why.
WP may have been like AT&T in more ways than advertising.
They got into the market early, made good products and
became a household word. Then the market changed faster
than the company realized.