Microsoft's Latest Dinosaurs
Microsoft ran a very large, very expensive full-page ad in today's New York Times depicting a dinosaur sitting in an airline lounge. Over this extinct creature's head is the headline:
"THE I'M OUT OF THE OFFICE AND OUT OF THE LOOP ERA IS OVER"
The copy continues: "Microsoft Office has evolved. Have You? After all, the way we work has changed. Today, typical cell phones and Web-based e-mail just aren't enough. You need more. That's why the latest version of Microsoft Office allows you access from almost anywhere, on your terms. Step up to "desk-like" connectivity to your data through a variety of Windows Mobile-based devices. It's time to evolve the way you work. Discover how at microsoft.com/office/evolve
Further down on the page, one dinosaur is seen talking to another one (apparently of a different species). "It's time to upgrade our Office 97," he says. "Beautiful, man," the other answers.
Okay - this is a cute campaign (who doesn't like dinosaurs)? But it provokes an important and painful question: namely: why have so many users elected not to upgrade from Office 97? I mean, golly - this software is almost 10 years old, Microsoft pulled the plug on its support for Office 97 more than a year ago(see: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;en-us;LifeOfficeFam. But clearly there are enough people who have said "Hell No, I Won't Upgrade" to warrant Microsoft's new, expensive, elaborate campaign to "evolve" one's office suite.
There are many, of course, who insist that Microsoft itself is very much a dinosaur these days: a biological throwback to an era when large, non-adaptive, slow, small-brained giants ruled the world of computing. Unfortunately, it is impossible not to make this connection when viewing these ads, which, I'm sure, will be assaulting us from every direction in the weeks and months to come.
And there will be those, I'm sure, who will ask the obvious question: instead of cutting big fat checks to newspapers, ad agencies, and TV stations, shouldn't Microsoft be focusing on its core competency, which it has always insisted is software, not marketing innovations?
If I worked at Microsoft, I'd suggest that my people spend a little more time IN the office (so that they could understand why so many people are still running Office 97), rather than hiking, bicycling, kayaking, or whatever else they do in Seattle while trying to get the latest version of Office to connect to some flaky cell phone or mobile device.
Talk about being "out of the loop!"