The new Microsoft – A look at Microsoft’s new image and marketing strategy

Microsoft is a company that has been around for a long time, and thanks to Windows and DOS it has spent a lot of this time at the top of its game. However for the first time in the company’s life it is starting to see real competition and to really risk losing that lead. First Microsoft was hit with a market monopoly lawsuit, and then it failed to get on the Tablet and Smartphone gravy in train in time. Chrome has now overtaken Internet Explorer as the number one browser most people are using, and in general people are relying less and less on Microsoft products.

In such situations there is one simple rule: adapt or die. Being a smart organization though Microsoft is of course aware of this and are busy doing the former. In fact Microsoft are very much poised to being a new era and have fundamentally altered not only their image and marketing but also many of their key products. And there are many business lessons to be learned here, here we will look at what some of those are.

The Metro Look

Microsoft has clearly realized (arguably a bit late) that touch interfaces and tablets are the new ‘big thing’ and have decided to embrace this with a Windows 8 that is very much made with touch in mind. Here though Microsoft have had to walk a fine line between emulating Android and iOS and keeping their own identity.

This is clearly something they have attempted to accomplish with their new ‘Metro’ style which has a number of very specific design specifications to set it apart. It’s all about making the content shine by removing the ‘chrome’ (borders, menus and scrollbars). Slight changes in color and font reflect hierarchies and categories in content so that they don’t need to be explicitly but into different boxes.

The panels on their new Metro homepage (and on the Windows 7 mobile homepage) reflect this and use the same minimalistic approach and they have even decided to tie this into their new logo which reflects the windows logo and the new tiled aesthetic with the same minimalistic feel. Whether you like it or not, this could be considered a masterclass in creating a unique brand, and a distinct look and feel for your products and business.

Their USP

At the same time though Microsoft have not forgotten their USP. For Microsoft the advantage was always productivity and their Office suit has long been a big selling point. Rather than ignoring this though, Microsoft has made it an integral part of their new product still in an attempt to offer the best of old and new. Their new OS still includes a desktop for those that want it, while the Metro mode also allows for split-screen multitasking and the use of a mouse and keyboard.

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They’ve also extended this to the hardware with their new Surface tablets – and their Surface Pro not only has a keyboard, full-sized USB port and SD slot, but also an Intel processor and the ability to run all of your old Windows 7 software. This is crucial – moving forward without forgetting the past. That said there are many factors that will influence their eventual success or failure, so watch this space.

About the author: Daniel Watson is a famous blogger and a marketing strategist. He recommendes aprimo marketing automation for those who seek marketing services.

Getting free business cards

If you are running a small business then you may not have the resources in place to afford professionally printed business cards, but there are a number of options available for free business cards. If you have access to the Internet then there are a number of websites online that can offer you free business card templates. These are useful tools as they give you the basic layout from which you can start designing professional looking business cards. Some free business card templates can offer you with colored backgrounds, images and artwork that make it quick and easy just to add your own business details and get printing straight away, but these may not be suitable for those who are looking for very individual and eye-catching designs.

You can design business cards from free templates in a number of different formats including Photoshop, PDF, Illustrator, JPEG and Word, and some websites also provide free browser based services so that you can design online and then download the completed business cards for printing.

Freebusinesscardtemplates.com
This website can offer free printable business card templates, and it is easy to search through the different basic designs on offer as they are organized by type or industry. Templates are offered in a high quality format, CMYK JPEG, and there are plenty of useable designs that will be suitable for a wide range of business. It is easy to edit the free templates from freebusinesscardtemplates.com and with most cards you simply type your own contact information and logo into the placeholder text boxes. There is also a choice of plain basic card templates and those with background colors and artwork.

Microsoft Office Online
Microsoft Office Online can offer a number of free business card templates in a whole range of different styles and designs. Single card and multi-card page print layouts are provided, as well as options for single or double sided printing and you can choose from templates with color and artwork or just plain backgrounds. You will need to check that the templates are compatible with the Windows operating system you are using on your system.

Business Card Land
If you want to use the versatile features in Illustrator or Photoshop, then Business Card Land offers free templates compatible with these formats, with single cars and multi-card printing layouts available.

HP Business Card Templates
The HP gallery offers a dozen free business card templates for Microsoft Word. These are easily to download to your desktop, and then you can customize them and start printing out. Horizontal and vertical layouts are offered.

Google Docs Templates
Google Docs can offer several different basic business card templates and these are free and are easy to personalize with your own contact details.

BizCardTemplates.com
This website offers ten monochrome business templates, which are compatible with Microsoft Word and CorelDRAW applications. These free templates offer basic design with simple graphics.

Templates4Cards.com
Templates4Cards.com offer a number of attractive, basic free business card templates which can be easily customized in Photoshop format.