Re: A "hidden" cost

From: Michael Martinez <>
Date: Thu 31 May 2001 12:08:47 -0500


>But the marketing behind the shoddy software is superb,


>Again, I have to disagree. Microsoft's marketing is awful.


>I happen to think most of their ads are lame, to be honest.

Since I am currently between trips and still slogging through
tons of email, I will respond to this one point.

Advertising is only one form of marketing. In Microsoft's
case, it is their least effective form of marketing.

Microsoft markets its applications software primarily
through the Windows operating system, which is distributed
on nearly all new PCs that consumers buy.

Suppose you have a soft drink company, Brandi's Soft Drinks,
and you have contracted with all the television manufacturers
to run only commercials for your soft drinks on their sets.
Never mind that the technology to do this doesn't exist.
This is the closest analogy I can think of on the fly.

You would have some incredible sales in the soft drink
industry, and your competition would be crushed. Coca-Cola
and Pepsi? Who are they?

THAT is the power of marketing. The closest we've seen to
that happening on the Internet can be represented by three
companies (in my opinion, and we all know what opinions are

1) is the first search service that people think
of, either when they are searching or listing sites.
Experienced surfers do tend to move on or supplement their
Yahoo! searches with other services. Yahoo! has a limited
database. It has to supplement its search results with
searches of Google's database.

2) is the most successful online bookstore. It
outsells all the others combined. My efforts to ween my
visitors off of Amazon to Vstore are meeting with great
resistance. The experiment is costing me money. Most
people trust Amazon. They don't trust other online
booksellers who appear to be just as reliable as Amazon.

3) America Online. How many subscribers do they have?
27 million? Name any ten ISPs who, combined, have that
large a subscriber base. Yes, AOL only serves about 8 per
cent of the online population, but I expect their market
share to grow. They are an inferior service.

Of course, I'm sure there are other companies which are
dominating their fields: eBay, the Motley Fool, et. al.
A few industries are still competitive, such as the online
brokerage industry. Who is larger, E*Trade or Ameritrade?
Which news service is going to come out on top, CNN, ABC,
NBC, Fox, et. al.?

Opportunities do develop. Altavista burped and Google
surged ahead. Yahoo! has lost some of its market share.
Compuserve once had over 7 million subscribers and at the
same time AOL only had 1 million. Now AOL owns Compuserve.
And so on.

So, nothing is carved in stone, even for the PC market and
Microsoft. But Microsoft has not relented. They're still
on top.

Michaul Martinez
 Science Fiction and Fantasy
  Visualizing Middle-earth, a book for all Tolkien fans

Received on Thu May 31 2001 - 12:08:47 CDT


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