LONDON — In newspapers this week Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is quoted on his “bet the company” moment. Last year, his firm, Microsoft, launched Windows 8, a new operating system, and didn’t include the company’s well understood “start” button.
This week they’ve announced that they’ll redress that error.
Journalists are enjoying calling it “the biggest product failure since the launch of New Coke more than 30 years ago”. And you can sense the underlying glee in what seems to be a bad news story.
So it’s worth asking: Is it a bad news story?
When Coca-Cola answered what it thought was a market that wanted — a sweeter product — and introduced New Coke, everyone talked about it. Soon Coke was “forced” into a retreat that had them introduce Coca-Cola Classic…. the old brand.
And the marketshare went up. They were outselling Pepsi by two to one when their marketing blunder was over.
At that time Coke COO, Donald Keough, said:
“Some critics will say that Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake, some cynics will say we planned the whole thing. The truth is that we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart.”
Will Microsoft sell more operating systems as a result of this? I don’t know. Maybe not. But they are making themselves a topic of discussion.
We got Windows 8 in my house last week. It’s taking a bit of getting used to. Some of us are managing the change better than other. But it sure feels like the future.