The problem is like any other market battle.
How do you get users to change? What did Excel do when they were only 10% of the market and lotus 123 was 90%? The answer not marketing. Since when has Microsoft marketed ANYTHING well? What commercial or marketing can you think of that is memorable? Fact is they are easy the worst marketing company I seen and only exception is perhaps Xbox. I am constant amazed when people say Microsoft did well with office or windows due to great marketing (in fact, if you think about his, they done well with really poor marketing unless someone can tell me about some great Microsoft commercial they seen in the last 15 years).
Back to Excel. What the Excel folks did was a shock to the whole computer industry. The folks at Microsoft had a meeting and decided that Excel was going to have a "save as" into Lotus 123 format. The shock and horror in the industry was:
You mean Excel can save it files and data out to a competitor's format?
I mean you can quite much guarantee that Lotus 123 the big market leader would NEVER add such a feature to 123 to allow their customers to EXIT out of 123 and start using Excel!
In fact MANY years later even going all the way up to Excel 2003 try clicking on the help on the main menu bar. It is amazing but near the top is an option called "help" for 123 users and that includes options for keystroke compatible shortcuts.
So the help menu and file save-as for 123 was added. In other words they made it EASY to switch. It also meant that you could be the one lone Excel user in a office full of 123 users.
And people think that Excel won due to bundling or marketing.? Lotus 123 was a bundle and I never EVER seen a Excel commercial or it marketed to anyone well. Excel won the day with great features AND ALSO making it EASY to switch from 123.
Right now it not easy to switch phone vendors. RIM should be dead meat and should be cannibalized by the new windows phone (wp7). The problem is that wp7 has no local Outlook sync that every RIM user and their pet dog has come to expect. So the instant you jump from RIM to wp7, it is a 100% screw up and you cannot sync your contacts unless you use Exchange or go and setup a live logon. It just way too painful process and for many many RIM users the transition just does not work at all.
It would seem that Microsoft has forgot lessons of the old days when they have to make customers CHANGE. The only way to grow wp7 user base is to have people change from their existing phones or new smartphone users.
The RIM user base should have been made top priority here. This is a huge opportunity being missed by wp7.
I suppose wp7 can grow by grabbing new users, but the real payoffs are in getting users of other platforms to switch.
RIM users are jumping ship to Android and iPhone. All wp7 had to do here was add seamless transition abilities from RIM to wp7 and those RIM users would be fresh meat for Microsoft.
Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
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