Top 3 mistakes of Microsoft in 2008

Poor Marketing of Windows Vista

The real tragedy of Windows Vista, especially after service pack 1, is that it’s not as bad as its reputation. But Microsoft did not do enough in 2008 to let people know that. It got caught in the crosshairs of bad Vista perceptions and unrelenting anti-Vista marketing from Apple.

But bad perceptions don’t appear out of nowhere. Compatibility and performance issues plagued Vista from the start. It was a vastly different OS from Windows XP and there were major changes to security features and the graphics system that created usability problems. These changes may have been necessary, but adapting to them led to chaos.


Letting the Apple Momentum Build

For most of 2008, Apple relentlessly lampooned Microsoft in its ubiquitous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” TV commercials. The ads were often funny and effective in pointing out Vista’s flaws in ways that everyday people could understand.

America waited for a response from Microsoft … and waited … and waited.

Microsoft rebounded fairly quickly with the “I’m a PC/Life Without Walls” ads that included celebrities and everyday people from around the world talking about how they are proud PC users. It was a much more effective ad about how PCs connect people and cultures.

But it may have been too little too late. The ad, though earnest and inspirational, did not mention Vista. Apple seized on this with a clever commercial about how Microsoft is pouring money into advertising rather than fixing Vista. Again, Vista was Microsoft’s Achilles’ Heel.


Failed Bid for Yahoo

Microsoft’s efforts to buy all or some of Yahoo dominated the headlines for most of 2008. Ultimately, nothing concrete came out of it (not yet at least), but there was no shortage of drama. And the drama should continue into 2009: the latest speculation is that Microsoft is lining up to buy Yahoo’s search business.

The saga began in February when the software giant offered $44.6 billion for Yahoo so Microsoft could beef up its struggling online search and advertising portfolio.

Criticism arose that Microsoft was not up to the task of integrating both the technology and the culture of Yahoo into the more corporate, proprietary world of Redmond.

And then a funny thing happened: Yahoo said no. It rejected the 44.6 billion offer. Most people were expecting Microsoft to either do a hostile takeover or purchase part of Yahoo. But then another funny thing happened: Microsoft dropped the bid entirely and walked away. It was around this time that the economy and Yahoo’s stock price went downhill.