Friday, February 20, 2009

Cringely Breaks Up Microsoft

Bob Cringely, one of the tech world's more grizzled commenters, exposes his plan to cut 'n' gut Microsoft into a leaner, more focused, and, presumably, more efficient tech provider. I agree with most of what he says, especially regarding positioning the Xbox as a non-family, high-octane, high-kickass, all-testosterone gaming system-to-the-xtreeem (it even has an "X" at the front of its name!).

But what I found most interesting was his take on MS's opening its own stores, which I dutifully hammered a week ago. Cringely sees it less as an attempt at real retailing than as a marketing ploy designed to bypass press coverage of the Windows 7 rollout by getting the new OS and various other MS tools and toys out into the public where people can kick the tires on them themselves (all in an environment tweaked just so) without their opinions' being influenced by Walter Mossberg and other doomsayers. That's the plan anyway, at least as conjured up by Cringely.

I'm still, to say the least, underwhelmed. If this is mostly a marketing effort of Redmond's part, why is it spearheaded by former Wal-Mart exec Kevin Turner, a hard-core retailer's retailer? If MS was hoping to get real Wal-Mart expertise in hiring Turner, than it could not have been thinking in terms of propaganda over retailing success, since Wal-Mart, Turner's only professional home to date, is a thousand times better at actually selling stuff -- and the logistics of moving around stuff to be sold -- than winning hearts and minds.

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