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Marketing Spotlight - Microsoft

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Marketing Spotlight - Microsoft
Microsoft was founded in 1975, when Bill Gates left Harvard at age 19 to work with high school friend Paul Allen on a version of the BASIC programming language. After moving the company from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Seattle in 1979, Gates and Allen began writing operating system software. What happened to the company since its founding is a well-known and often-told story. Key strategies that enabled Microsoft to achieve such remarkable growth in the competition-laden computer industry include product innovation, brand extension, heavy advertising, competitive toughness, and product expansion.

In 2005, Microsoft shook up the marketplace - and the marketing industry - again with its non-traditional launch for the Xbox 360. Read Microsoft's Xbox 360 spin(http://news.com.com/Commentary+Microsofts+Xbox+360+spin/2030-1069_3-5706144.html) and address the following questions:

1.What are the key elements of Microsoft's marketing strategy for the Xbox 360?
2.What are the similarities and differences compared to past product rollouts within Microsoft and compared to the rest of the industry?
3.Could Microsoft be considered one of the best and worst examples of marketing success in America during the 1980s and 1990s? Discuss.
4.Do any of the Microsoft strategies contradict future issues that Microsoft and other technology-oriented firms should prepare to deal with in coming years?

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The key elements of Microsoft's marketing strategy for the Xbox 360
revolve around a direct to the consumer approach. Unveiling the new
hardware to consumers on a primetime MTV special was a radical
departure from past practices, where game console manufacturers
debuted new hardware to industry insiders at the Electronic
Entertainment Expo. Instead of relying on industry analysts to act as
evangelists for the new console until shortly before its launch,
Microsoft has opted to attempt to freeze the market by making
consumers aware of its offering even though it will be at least six
months before it is available.

The direct to the consumer approach is very different from past
industry practices. Furthermore, by leading the industry into the
next generation of consoles instead of being a laggard, Microsoft is
seeking to compress the console product lifecycle and put pressure on
its competitors to innovate more rapidly. Since Sony is currently the
category leader, but ...