Thursday, March 04, 2010

Failing to protect a brand, Microsoft still doesn't get it

It astounds me to watch a company that employs so many really intelligent people repeatedly make the same mistakes around something simple like branding.
The latest example is the Mobile 'Surface' project being undertaken by Microsoft Research. Make no mistake, I think this is awesome research and it is thinking and projects like this that will lead us into future generations of computer interaction. The issue lies with the use of the Surface brand. Microsoft has a product called Microsoft Surface, it is very clear that such a new and innovative product needs to have a clear and concise purpose and place in the market.
When Microsoft themselves allow research projects such as the Mobile "Surface" and SecondLight projects to use the Surface brand it dilutes the message of what a Microsoft surface actually is as a product.
To make matters worse, Microsoft released Microsoft Surface applications in the Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7. This pack contains a number of touch applications that have the Surface brand associated. This further dilutes the value proposition for Microsoft Surface as a brand.
To protect the brand Microsoft needs to ONLY use the Surface name for the Microsoft Surface product and nothing else.

Why do I care so much? Because I have invested a lot of energy in helping to promote, and teach people about Microsoft Surface, teaching Surface application development, writing a book on Microsoft Surface, and working with nsquared to build rich Surface applications.

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