I have been enjoying seeing the tidal wave of articles on Microsoft’s beta operating system Windows 7: firstly reading about what the system has to offer, but secondly for following the hugely positive PR Microsoft has had with the system.
For those who don’t know, Microsoft is giving away beta (test) copies of the Windows 7 system (a replacement for good old XP and the much-maligned Vista) to anyone who wants to download it from their website. Thousands of people have done this, and hundreds of people have written about it after they have trialed it.
The news has been largely very positive; and scores of lengthy, detailed and positive articles have been written about Microsoft and Windows 7 and appeared in media around the world. Here’s just one recent example from the New Zealand Herald.
The system is not even due to hit the shops for another year but they have managed to build up a powerful sense of anticipation around their flagship product. Even the criticism can be viewed as a positive thing because Microsoft has all this year to continue developing and refining the product based on customer feedback, which it has been doing.
Responsive to customers
It is also getting tons of love for being seen to be receptive and responsive to customer critiques. Something the generally prickly and defensive company can not really claim to have been in the past.
The change in approach is a massive ground-shift for the company, who, in allowing any-one who wants to test-run Windows 7, is playing the marketing game more like young online upstarts than the cumbersome and slow-moving giant it has so often been portrayed as previously. Microsoft, has in the past, been highly secretive around their new products.
Giving away stuff to make friends
The strategy is also further vindication of the increasingly popular, online business strategy of giving away stuff to get people to buy more. There’s more about that strategy here.
Microsoft is feeling and sharing the software love and making friends everywhere. What a difference a clean Window makes.