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    Microsoft: Key elements of a marketing strategy, past and future success

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    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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    Solution Preview

    1. What are the key elements of Microsoft's marketing strategy for the Xbox 360?

    First of all Microsoft is bringing its new console with a strong brand equity long before the other market leaders like Sony and Nintendo. In general a new hardware is usually unveiled first to partners and developers behind closed doors, then to industry players and analysts at events like E3, and finally to consumers a couple of months before release. Microsoft is breaking this golden rule and taking its offering directly to consumers. This will help the company to gain significant market share in a market whose product cycle has a front-loaded revenue stream and the company will be able to take the advantages of many switchers in the near future. Microsoft is taking the gaming experience out of the living room, blurring the line between product and marketing to become synonymous with gaming. Besides the company is making agreements with its key partners while promoting its new product and supporting its brand ...

    Solution Summary

    In a 600 word solution, the key elements of the Xbox 360 and other marketing successes are explained.