Microsoft’s Massive Assault on the Web and the Living Room

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A massive offensive by Microsoft is underway. The signs are all there, maybe you just haven’t notice, but it’s more than likely that you have. Take a look at your RSS feeds over the past few days, glance at Digg‘s popular stories, browse the headline stories of Techmeme from this week – Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft, on multiple fronts too.
First of all, they’re buying yet another company to try and bolster their ad unit, AdENC. While Google purchase of DoubleClick, announced months ago, sits in the waiting bin subject to AntiTrust inquiries, Microsoft is wasting no time snapping up pieces to compete with them. In the words of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft is “hell-bent” on succeeding in ads and you better believe their willing to spend every single dollars of the billions they have stashed in their war chest to do just that.
But that was hardly the only recent headline for the boys from Redmond. Microsoft is gearing up to attack Google from just about every angle on the web. They laid out a broader web-based strategy yesterday, in addition to an upcoming Google Analytics “killer” dubbed ‘Gatineau‘, and their Adobe Flash “killer”, Silverlight, which is nearing release.
On another front, Microsoft has plans to stay ahead of Sony in the next-gen gaming console race as well. Word is that in a few weeks, the Xbox 360 will be receiving a $50 price cut to help spur sales. If that doesn’t work to counter some of the recent bad buzz the system has received due to systems experiencing the red ring of death, you can bet they’ll be willing to cut it even more. Remember, Microsoft has yet to cut the price of the 360 in the more than 18 months it’s been available, while the PS3 barely lasted 6 months before they had to start slashing prices.
If that’s not enough, Microsoft has also cut the price of their HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360 down to $179. Not only did Microsoft shave $20 off the price of the drive, if you buy one, they’ll throw in 5 free HD-DVD movies, which if bought at current prices would cost you well over $100.
But there’s more, now it appears Microsoft may be planning to tie their advertising and video game departments by creating in-game ads for the Microsoft brand in EA Sports games through the video game advertising company, Massive, who just inked a deal with EA Sports. Oh yeah, and don’t forget Microsoft’s little deal the other day to be the exclusive provider of ads on Digg, a site which hasn’t exactly been conducive to the most pro-Microsoft stories in the past. At least now they’ve figured out a way to make some money off of negative coverage.
You can barely go anywhere on the web right now without coming across some sort of major Microsoft news – and that is no doubt part of the larger Microsoft plan moving forward. With Bill Gates retiring to go help people with his billions, we could be seeing the start of a much more aggressive Microsoft. After months of taking punches by the likes of Google and Sony, Microsoft is fighting back big time.
If you want to talk about advertising, be it on the web, or in the living room, Microsoft will be there.

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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  • Jason

    Don’t you just love the competition. It’s like watching sports.
    I also like the rivalry because it forces each to produce more quality things.

  • Clint Gordon-Carroll

    I think the Hitler analogy to Microsoft is a stretch on so many levels (MSFT has been in power a lot longer than Hitler ever was… I could go on forever).
    Microsoft has made it very clear what they are after: the content. Since the miserable failing of MSN as an ISP they have turned to the understanding that content is king. From the Xbox to MSN Live and now Silverlight it’s all about the content. Google knows this too. Who wins? The consumer.

  • MG Siegler

    I agree with the Hitler analogy in that Microsoft seems to wear itself thin at times trying to compete with everyone on everything – if they simply committed to better quality on less projects I think it could really help them.
    I agree with you though Clint that it’s the consumer who ultimately wins. No matter what product/service they go after, Microsoft’s sheer size and backing forces the competition to get either better or cheaper – and if MS’s product really is crap, the consumer can simply choose not to use it and use the better version which is now likely improved thanks to the competition.
    I am however still very wary of MS and Google for that matter strong-arming smaller guys out of the business entirely…

  • 2shane

    Uhhhhh Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft……
    I now have all my computers running Ubuntu, I use lots of Open Source software, and I have had so many negative experiences with MS, that I really don’t care much for anything MS anymore….
    Arrogant, Stupid, Manipulative, Dishonest, Greedy, Pushy, and rotten to do business with.

  • Clint Gordon-Carroll

    I love open source, though, the masses don’t understand the community effort, and much of the co-opetion that is substituted for pure competition. I run a lot of linux, Suse in particular, but despite anyone’s frustration w/ MSFT you have to acknowledge the market they serve. Not everyone can run Ubuntu.
    I agree w/ the comment about Google (they can be just as brutal) and MSFT hurting small competitors, but as consumers we have to be informed about the products we buy and those we don’t.
    Again, any use of Hitler in an analogy is suspect. It’s similar to a colleague of mine who always uses the word amazing to describe everything, so in turn nothing is really amazing. Microsoft has never sent anyone to the gas chambers, at least not yet, so the analogy is a little tainted.

  • RustyS

    One place where I think Microsoft seems to be lax (and has a MAJOR chance to gain an iPod-like strangle-hold on the device market) is in Media Center consoles. Media Center is one MS product that has gone over very well once people experience it. And the time for that functionality is primed to boom just like portable mp3 player market was ready to boom at the start of the decade.
    The Xbox360 already has this functionality which is one of its biggest selling points for anyone running a Media Center OS (most of the home market these days.) And the rumors are that the next update to the 360 might give it more stand-alone capabilities in this area as well. But I’d like to see them also create a less-expensive, non-gaming device that brings this functionality to the home theater to target non-gamers.
    Yes, there’s lots of wireless media extenders out there already, but none of them have the name brand impact that would get the average joes attention. An ‘Xbox Media Center ‘ brand could have devices targeted at all levels of the market:
    -Inexpensive wireless media centers.
    -Same as above, but bundled with an HD-DVD player.
    -More robust, HD-based Tivo alternatives (although Microsoft is also developing software for cable company units so they might tread carefully here.)

  • Ron Diggity

    I love Microsoft. If it weren’t for them, Google wouldn’t have a desktop computer to build on.

  • Karl Lingenfelder

    MS is Big, VERY BIG and may at times be a Gorilla or Bull, but only a fool underestimates them. They are big enough to get away with being clumsy at times. (So is Google.) Each of them can only defeat themselves.