Microsoft Surface Gets 'Glee' Treatment as Analysts Lower Expectations
Microsoft, a favorite with enterprises, has released a new ad for its Surface tablet aimed at young users. Whomever the audience, analysts are worried about pricing.Apple and Android-running devices are making inroads with business users—The New York Times reported Oct. 16 that the BlackBerry-using President Obama likes to receive his national security briefings on an iPad—but Microsoft continues to be the "overwhelming choice" when it comes to standardizing on a mobile platform, according to ThinkEquity analyst Yun Kim. In a recent survey of IT managers released Oct. 15, ThinkEquity found 48 percent of enterprises to be standardizing on Windows Phone 7 or 8, which is up from 44 percent three months ago. Another 8 percent said they are standardizing on Google's Android, down from 11 percent three months ago, and 14 percent pointed to Apple's iOS, up from 10 percent three months ago. Still, as Microsoft prepares for two big and very important software launches this month—Windows 8 for PCs and tablets and Windows Phone 8 for smartphones—it is consumers that its marketing dollars are visibly targeting. (For proof that this is an effective strategy, see Apple, which piqued consumer interest and support to the point of basically instigating the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend.) The Microsoft Website, recently refreshed after years as essentially a dusty relic, now features a bright Windows palette with smiling families, college kids, enticements to download Lady Gaga tracks, and the occasional small-business owner. And with a new commercial for its Windows 8-running Surface tablet, posted to YouTube before dawn Oct. 16, there's no mistaking the intended audience: the teen, tween, Glee-watching set.
Whether the ad creates a cool quotient that can take on the iPad—or at least undo some of the damage of Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign—is for the viewer to decide. Certainly, though, it's effective in making clear that the tablet has a complementary keyboard that attaches magnetically and securely with a satisfying click—a click that sets off coordinated dance scene extravaganza in a sort of Los Angeles college quad meets public piazza, complete with break dancers, kissing seniors and plaid-skirted, club-ready school girls.
"Also, we believe Microsoft could leverage its strength in the enterprise market to successfully penetrate the consumer market," Kim added, "which many investors believe is a lost endeavor." Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.