brand strategy

Microsoft Looks to Unifying Strategy to Revitalize Aging Company

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 11, 2013 03:17 PM

Microsoft announced Thursday a company-wide reorganization—its latest effort to revitalize the struggling brand. In an email to all employees, CEO Steve Ballmer said: 

“Today, we are announcing a far-reaching realignment of the company that will enable us to innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability in a fast changing world. Today’s announcement will enable us to execute even better on our strategy to deliver a family of devices and services that best empower people for the activities they value most and the enterprise extensions and services that are most valuable to business.”

While the realignment involves no major departures or promotions for current executives, it does dissolve the company's current business units and reorganizes them into four divisions: Operating Systems, Applications and Services, Cloud and Enterprise, and Devices and Studios. The move places the company's three operating systems into one division, and stretches marketing and business strategy into a unified, cross-company group.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Microsoft Treads on Unstable Ground Ahead of a Reported Restructuring

Posted by Barry Silverstein on July 10, 2013 05:42 PM

On the heels of its Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is likely to announce a major restructuring on July 11 "around services—or software—and devices, both in the consumer and business sectors," according to AllThingsD. However, it is "not clear how the new organization will enable Microsoft to move faster at innovation, especially against more nimble rivals such as Google." An "insider" warned, "If this is all about an org chart and not how to build great products, it does not matter what org chart Ballmer presents. Consumers buy products, not a management structure."

This raises a disturbing question: Is Steve Ballmer simply moving the proverbial deck chairs around on the Titanic? When one looks at Microsoft's history of lukewarm if not downright disappointing products, it does at times appear that the software giant is about to sink rather than swim. 

It may in fact be a systemic problem. Microsoft has long been a company known as much by the company it keeps, relying on mostly hardware partners to, in effect, resell its software. But as the Wall Street Journal points out, "Microsoft keeps hitching its fortunes to lame horses." The company has long dominatd the PC market with its software, however the resurgence of Mac and other operating systems has moved the market in a different direction. "For its long-term health, Microsoft needs to find success selling software for the most popular types of computers. That means smartphones and, increasingly, tablets. It's difficulty doing that, or attracting partners that aren't in desperate need of their own help, bodes ill for its future."Continue reading...

brand challenges

Barnes & Noble's Digital Divide Widens as CEO Departs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 9, 2013 04:49 PM

William Lynch Jr., CEO of Barnes & Noble, resigned Monday after a demoralizing earnings report that underscored the brand’s losing Nook battle against rivals in the e-reader market, with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad topping the list.

In its latest earnings report, the company reported a $118.6 million loss for its fiscal fourth quarter, with revenue from e-books dropping 9 percent. The report was the final nail in the coffin for the flaundering Nook brand, which, despite positive reviews and quality products, has ended up on the losing side of the ongoing e-reader and tablet wars. In late June, the company announced that it would no longer manufacture its Nook HD color tablets in-house, instead signing off the product to third party production. It will, however, continue to manufacture and market its black and white Nook e-readers. 

The abrupt departure of Lynch, who assumed the CEO role in 2010 after being president of BarnesandNoble.com, could be the latest indicator that the company is abandoning its digital efforts and preparing to sell off individual units. Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Barnes & Noble, BlackBerry, Shell and more

Posted by Dale Buss on July 9, 2013 09:16 AM

In the News

Barnes & Noble CEO resigns amid digital setbacks.

BlackBerry faces leadership questions at annual meeting today.

Shell picks refining chief to become its new CEO.

Alibaba sets sights on mobile.

Apple's App Store celebrates five-year anniversary with free apps.

Esurance expands US Open tennis sponsorship.

Ford finds that F-250 pickup is new favorite of auto thieves.

Hasbro buys 70 percent stake in mobile gaming company Backflip for $112 million.

Hostess Twinkies return aiming for more ubiquity.

Hulu attracts at least three takeover bids.

Infiniti nudges launch date of new Q50 sedan.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Is This the Beginning of the End for Barnes & Noble?

Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 26, 2013 02:48 PM

We may be witnessing a classic story of a me-too brand that just couldn't rise to the occasion. In a marketplace currently glutted with tablets, bookseller Barnes & Noble raised the "white flag, signaling that it cannot compete" with the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Samsung, reports The New York Times

Barnes & Noble CEO William J. Lynch, Jr. saw it a bit differently, telling analysts, "Our aim is to sell great tablets connected to our best content catalog and high-quality bookstore services we've done, but do so without the sizable upfront risk." He added that "we are 100 percent not exiting the device business," but note the use of the word "device."

The fact is, B&N will no longer make its own Nook Color tablets, relying instead on other companies to license and manufacture them. The company does plan to continue to make its black-and-white eReader—but that's largely being regarded as a defensive move. B&N will continue to sell Nook Color devices through the end of 2013 but then partners will begin producing them.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Carnival, Barnes & Noble, Square and more

Posted by Dale Buss on June 26, 2013 09:17 AM

In the News

Carnival CEO to step down.

Barnes & Noble pulls back after losses in tablet wars.

Square takes on PayPal online.

Daimler outsources development of driver-assistance software.

Paula Deen's awkward TODAY interview furthers PR nightmare

Dow Jones plans to eliminate some newsroom staff as it unifies newswires and Wall Street Journal.

Fiat adds seven-seat minivan to 500 range in Europe.

Ford ushers great-great grandchildren of founder into management.

Google gets boost in EU privacy case.

Heineken says it is "absolutely on top" of issue of fake beer in emerging markets.Continue reading...

Microsoft Reportedly Wants to Buy Barnes & Noble's Nook Business for $1 Billion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 10, 2013 12:45 PM

Shares of Barnes & Noble soared 24 percent after it was reported Thursday that Microsoft is considering a bid for the retailer’s Nook e-book business. 

Microsoft is reportedly offering $1 billion for the Nook brand and the digital assets of Nook Media on top of their $300 million investment last year to develop Nook content for Windows 8 tablets. "Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them,” said Microsoft president Andy Lees at the time. "We're on the cusp of a revolution in reading." 

But the revolution stalled as the Android-based Nook has been a money-loser for B&N, not helping America's biggest bookseller compete against Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Google, Volkswagen and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 3, 2013 09:15 AM

In the News

Apple dodges $9 billion in US taxes with bond deal.

Google named Advertiser of the Year

Volkswagen makes $10 million donation to the National Mall.

Adidas sales drop on weakening Reebok brand.

Barnes & Noble begins support of Google apps on Nook.

Beam sales rise because of "formula run" on Maker's Mark.

Diet Coke slims down its vending machines.

Ford adds jobs and raises capacity to make pick-up trucks.

Geritol seeks new life with younger consumers.

Huffington Post brings rapid-response "native" ads to its home page.Continue reading...

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