Microsoft debuts Windows Everywhere, including Best Buy, but continues to blunder

By Kip Kniskern | Posted June 13, 2013 6 comments

prod_windowsStore_WebMicrosoft seems to be reshaping itself before our very eyes, most recently with what looks to be a carefully crafted new “Windows Everywhere” ad campaign, and now today the announcement of “Windows Store only at Best Buy”, a new store-within-a-store concept coming to more than 600 Best Buys (along with Future Shops) in the US and Canada.   However, elsewhere within the company, that positive message hasn’t been as clearly portrayed.

The latest ad for Windows Everywhere, which debuted yesterday, is, as Geekwire’s Todd Bishop notes, not only brings together a number of Microsoft properties including IE, Bing, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, Skype, and Xbox, but also may help to explain the thinking behind Microsoft’s rumored re-organization:

The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

This new mantra, of Windows as part of a set of Microsoft services instead of the Sinofsky-led old school thinking of “all roads lead to Windows”, may be part of why Microsoft and Steven Sinofsky parted ways in the first place.  Indeed, Microsoft looks to be ready to tout all of its devices and services, Windows or not, somewhat equally in its Microsoft Stores and now in Best Buy, too, even as it continues to push the “Windows” name.  From the Microsoft News Center press release on “Windows Store only at Best Buy”:

Ranging in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,200 square feet, the Windows Store will be the premier destination for consumers to see, try, compare and purchase a range of products and accessories, including Windows-based tablets and PCs, Windows Phones, Microsoft Office, Xbox, and more. Each store will feature an innovation space highlighting a variety of Windows scenarios across devices; a showcase section with the latest Windows-based PC form factors such as ultrabooks, convertibles, detachables and all-in-ones — including portable devices; and a standalone area featuring Microsoft Surface.

“The Windows Store offers a large-scale, hands-on customer experience that will show customers how Windows and Microsoft devices and services can make it easier for them to work and play,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of the Windows Division at Microsoft. “We’re pleased to partner with Best Buy in bringing the latest technologies to consumers at scale in a unique environment where they can explore how Microsoft products fit together across entertainment, travel, music and other scenarios.”

In some other areas, however, Microsoft’s message isn’t as clear, or as positive.  At this week’s E3, many are saying that Microsoft botched the message they’re trying to get out with the Xbox One.  From allowing speculation to run rampant for months about buzzwords like “always on” and “used games” before only partially addressing them at E3, to giving Sony plenty of time (and ammunition) to make headway with gamers.  Sony announced, to loud and sustained applause, that *their* games could be sold, traded, or given away (even though that only applies to Sony games, and it isn’t clear what 3rd party game makers will require), and Microsoft has allowed the “always on” conversation to drift from “you never have to wait while your Xbox updates” to “you can’t play games unless you’re connected”.  Sony also came in at $100 cheaper than the Xbox One (although as BGR notes, if Microsoft hadn’t bundled in the Kinect, pricing would be much closer).

Both Thurrott and BGR fault Microsoft’s botched message with the Xbox One launch, but not necessarily the new console itself, for its perceived poor first impressions.  While “Windows Everywhere” and new Microsoft stores are good attempts to portray this new Microsoft, there’s still lots of work left to do.

 

 

 

 

Posted June 13th, 2013 at 10:37 am
  • Mario Albertico

    It’s a great ad, it really is. In terms of letting people know that there is one company that is behind these products and they have a cohesive vision for them, I think it works. But the execution, you’re right Kip, we’re going to have to see if they actually follow through.

  • Mario Albertico

    It’s a great ad, it really is. In terms of letting people know that there is one company that is behind these products and they have a cohesive vision for them, I think it works. But the execution, you’re right Kip, we’re going to have to see if they actually follow through.

  • Iain Simpson

    People have to start to realize that the Xbox one is not just a gaming console, it offers so much more for now and for the future, they are trying to get away from using discs for gaming and go completely digital and cloud based and that’s where the future is. It will make gaming cheaper and much better. If you just want to play games stay with the 360 or go with the ps4. But if you want something that is so much more then go with the ONE.

  • Iain Simpson

    People have to start to realize that the Xbox one is not just a gaming console, it offers so much more for now and for the future, they are trying to get away from using discs for gaming and go completely digital and cloud based and that’s where the future is. It will make gaming cheaper and much better. If you just want to play games stay with the 360 or go with the ps4. But if you want something that is so much more then go with the ONE.

  • Jamie

    I can’t wait to see these stores in Best Buy / Future Shop! Great idea! I’m always pissed when it’s so Apple and Android dominated in those stores.
    As Iain said above, Xbox One is not really in the same class as PS4. PS4 is just an upgraded PS3, whereas Xbox One is a full new TV experience, whereas PS4 is just a gaming console. PS4 is more along the lines of competing against the updated Xbox 360.
    I have a feeling that Microsoft (since they are now a devices and services company) are going to have an ‘Xbox’ family of devices similar to how it has the ‘Surface’ family of devices. Where the “One” is all-in-one (Console, Kinect, Controller, etc.)…. and they’ll probably release a newer 360 (maybe the 720?) as a sole gaming console. To be honest, they should have released both at the same time to avoid the negative comments, but I understand with such a large company it’s hard… which is why the rumored simplified restructuring is a really good thing. Can’t wait to see what happens.

  • Jamie

    I can’t wait to see these stores in Best Buy / Future Shop! Great idea! I’m always pissed when it’s so Apple and Android dominated in those stores.
    As Iain said above, Xbox One is not really in the same class as PS4. PS4 is just an upgraded PS3, whereas Xbox One is a full new TV experience, whereas PS4 is just a gaming console. PS4 is more along the lines of competing against the updated Xbox 360.
    I have a feeling that Microsoft (since they are now a devices and services company) are going to have an ‘Xbox’ family of devices similar to how it has the ‘Surface’ family of devices. Where the “One” is all-in-one (Console, Kinect, Controller, etc.)…. and they’ll probably release a newer 360 (maybe the 720?) as a sole gaming console. To be honest, they should have released both at the same time to avoid the negative comments, but I understand with such a large company it’s hard… which is why the rumored simplified restructuring is a really good thing. Can’t wait to see what happens.