The Mobile World Conference has come and gone, passed without much input from me owing to a combination of indifference and an ever-increasing workload that this post seeks simply to exacerbate, but a new development in the Microsoft camps need my scorn…
Picture stolen from CNET UK – they won’t mind, they get more hits than me anyway and I can’t get review models.
I’m not going to go into a review of the device because it is basically a bog-standard phone OS, except app updates appear on the home screen. Instead, I’m going to detail why it will fail…
The reason it will fail is for one reason alone, it’s name. Windows Mobile 7 Series. The only words more depressing than Windows Mobile 7 Series is ‘inflammed clown herpes’, and neither are particularly appealing to go and ask for in bloody Phones4u. The thing that Microsoft consistently, absolutely always, misses is what the modern tech-generation remember anything by – viral. I know that sounds weird but hear me out, television shows for years have stayed in the collective memories of generations, long after they’ve ended, entirely on the catchphrases – “D’oh”,”Could I be anymore…”,”You Plonker”,”No soup for you!” – all made shows stand out and are instantly recognisable.
The same applies to shopping, if you walk into a phone shop and say you want an iPhone – let’s analyse that – it’s snappy, everyone knows what it is mainly because it indicates a single object and appeals to the gimmick Apple have had of grafting the letter i onto every device they’ve ever released.
Now, if you walk into a phone shop and say you want a Windows Mobile 7 Series Phone, not only will you most likely die inside before you finish it, you’ll also get blank looks with a name that sounds so indistinct and tedious. I’m all for branding and it makes sense that they’d continue their Windows OS in this way, but history shows that this just doesn’t work. With a snappier name as much time to ingrain that name into the minds of the public they might have a fighting chance, but they’re far too late – it doesn’t matter how much time they’ve spent perfecting the phone OS because they’ve lost, not only ground but sea and space to Apple.
Microsoft have taken stabs at viral campaigns but these have been pitiful, half-hearted attempts that fail to even become famous for being crap, like their Bill Gates and Seinfeld commercials that somehow managed to make Microsoft seem even more past it. You can just hear Bill sitting in his office thinking “whose funny” and showing how past it he is. The result of this is so squirmy, unfunny and borderline homoerotic it made me want to prise my eyes out with a shoehorn.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Microsoft has conceded that their market in a lot of things is comprised mostly of businessmen, people who don’t care about how the things look as long as it does the job. This has been a secure region of the market for some time but they’ve tried to show people that they are really young hipsters too, which resulted in the travesty that is Windows Vista, and clamouring to show that they’re down-with-the-peeps (word) with the XBox, before swiftly showing their silver-hair once again by chucking off chipped consoles from XBox Live. But the mobile is different, if they were giving it a dull name simply to grow old gracefully they wouldn’t have included heavy social networking features or anything un-business-like. They leave it, therefore, as a phone aimed at the planet’s population but appealing to the population of Malta. This will fail.
By this point, however, Microsoft’s so old and so long-lasting that the name itself is synonymous with stuffy businessmen and pure tedium – maybe the way Microsoft can make themselves appear younger and edgier is to get rid of Microsoft itself.
Oh, and because I sort of owe CNET because I borrowed that image from them, check out more information on the ejaculations of Microsoft’s Marketing Morons here: The worst Microsoft celebrity videos ever.