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What Microsoft did right and wrong in 2013

Tim Greene | Dec. 19, 2013
Microsoft is getting Office 365 right, but that Scroogled campaign is so wrong.

Perhaps as businesses and consumers decide what devices will replace PCs, Windows 8.1 and its successors will do better. Those new devices will likely include touch and mobility, two areas where Windows 8.1 does well. But for 2013, it was at best ahead of its time.

Surface RT, Surface 2
Despite a $900 million write-down of the Surface RT tablet a stark acknowledgment of its failure Microsoft has pushed ahead with the next generation of the device called Surface 2.

While it does come with Microsoft Office something you can't get on an iPad the device runs only Windows Store Applications those designed for  the Windows RT operating system, vetted by Microsoft and available online only through the Windows Store.

Reports indicate that in some locales Surface 2 supplies have run dry during the holiday shopping season, but Microsoft doesn't say how many were available in the first place so it's difficult to say whether popularity of the new device is on the rise. With the pending sale of Nokia to Microsoft, Surface 2 seems like an unnecessary and not very popular product.

Regardless, Microsoft seems committed to it for at least a little while longer. A story by Marcom News says Microsoft has signed up an agency to run a four-month ad campaign for the device.

CEO search
It was unnecessary to announce as much as a year ahead of time that the company is looking for a CEO to replace Steve Ballmer.

It acts as a distraction that deflects attention away from other efforts that would be good for the business and doesn't make Ballmer's job any easier in the meantime.

Keeping mum until a replacement was signed up would have been the way to go.

It's not helping the top candidates, either. Alan Mulally, rumored as the top contender, is CEO of Ford, whose board is getting cranky that his possible selection is outshining the company's efforts to promote an ambitious 2014 lineup of new cars.

This apparently well-funded campaign to attack Google Chromebooks and the way Google mines personal information to sell to advertisers seems a bit much.

Microsoft has nailed down the domain name and keeps the site updated with content intended to send Google customers flocking to Microsoft. It's also got, an aggregation site that posts links to stories that point out Google transgressions.

The company even sells a line of Scroogled apparel on its online Microsoft Store so equally rabid anti-Google customers can pay to wear Microsoft negative advertising.

Regardless of the merits of Scroogle arguments, the campaign comes across as silly and spiteful.

Apple parody
In the same spirit (bad) as Scroogled, Microsoft produced a video making fun of Apple's iPhone.

It looked thrown together but mainly it wasn't funny. Microsoft took it down and acknowledged it as a mistake.


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