It’s not just about software, it’s about software and the people who use it. That’s the elevator pitch for Microsoft Corp’s new $500m marketing push, which the company is calling “People-Ready”.
Microsoft’s calling it a vision. People-Ready is essentially an umbrella position statement for Microsoft’s business segment, which will be used to drive sales over the company’s busy next 12 months of software releases.
Businesses are based on people. Software is a tool that can empower those people. I think Microsoft software is fairly unique in the way that it can do that, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said at a conference in New York.
There are four core principles behind the campaign, he said. Each plays into Microsoft’s strengths as the world’s dominant software developer, and none are especially surprising.
The first is familiarity. Most people are accustomed to using Microsoft’s software. The second is broad use and support, another area Microsoft can rightly claim to be strong. Third is ease of integration, to both Microsoft and third-party software.
In this era of the web and web services, and new technologies, there’s many more opportunities to integrate and connect with systems from our partners, our competitors, and many, many others, Ballmer said.
The fourth is innovation, a loaded term if ever there was one, and a tricky concept to define simply. Ballmer chose instead to give examples in the form of current and forthcoming Microsoft products.
The company is pushing People-Ready as the theme for the forthcoming 2007 versions of Office and Sharepoint, with the integrated search capabilities of Vista and Sharepoint.
It is also talking up mobility, with vice president Chris Capossela demonstrating the new voice-control and unified messaging features that will come with the next version of Exchange .
Microsoft is also using the People-Ready marketecture to cover new product areas where it is less well-known, such as customer relationship management and business intelligence.