Microsoft changes digital marketing strategy for Windows and Surface

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

To say it’s been troubling times at Redmond over the past few months would be an understatement. Yet Microsoft will hope to turn things around, with the help of marketing agency Razorfish.

As reported by Ad Age Razorfish, which already covers digital consumer marketing for Xbox and Bing, will expand its portfolio to include Surface and Windows.

Amidst the various announcements made by Microsoft at its Gamescom keynote earlier today – which sister site DeveloperTech is covering – this one may have slipped through the net.

A Microsoft spokesman said the Razorfish move came as a result of “competitive conflicts with the previous agency”, with no further elaboration on those details.

Regardless, Razorfish is about to perform a serious undertaking; plenty of marketers would have thought twice about attempting to remarket the Surface.

Back in July of course, Microsoft cut the price of its Surface RT by $150 to $349, for both the 32GB and 64GB models. TechZone 360 called Redmond’s pricing strategy “damnably dumb” back in January, and saw no reason to change its theory. Similarly, in May IDC analyst Tom Mainelli was on record as saying the Surface Pro “just wasn’t there”, calling its battery life of four hours “a nonstarter”.

Worse, earlier this month a lawsuit was filed against Microsoft for allegedly hiding poor Surface RT sales leading to losses for shareholders, with the suit claiming that Microsoft’s steps into the tablet space were “an unmitigated disaster”.

Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Redmond obviously has faith, with Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang telling CNET that a ‘Surface 2’ was on the way. And, according to Forrester, 35% of information workers want to see a tablet with a keyboard, with two thirds of respondents claiming they would become more productive if their slates had keyboards.

As for Windows, we’re all waiting for October 17 for the full release of Windows 8.1, shipping with Skype pre-installed. One wonders, given how Steve Ballmer is looking to reorganise Microsoft for strategic alignment under the term “One Microsoft” – as shown in an employee-wide memo last month – whether this will be beneficial for Microsoft long-term.

How would you market the Surface?

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