Microsoft may not be willing to let Apple have the last word about Windows Vista, after all.
According to a June 20 Fortune Magazine article, Microsoft has earmarked "an additional $200 million for Windows advertising this year, even though in nonlaunch years thre is typically no budget increase at all." It sounds as though this is in addition to the $300 million Microsoft already has agreed to spend with Crispin Porter + Bogusky to improve the company's overall image and brand.
Fortune explains Microsoft's image makeover plan, codenamed "FTP168" (with FTP being "Free the People"):
"A year ago Ballmer okayed the effort, led by Bill Veghte, who is responsible for both Windows and search. He partnered with marketing boss Mich Mathews, then the two recruited an all-star team from across the company - the best experts at branding, packaging, online advertising, and other specialties....
"The aim of the campaign will be to talk about things you can do with your PC that you could never do before."
At the same time, over the next 18 months, Microsoft is planning to focus on the synergies of three different Microsoft lines -- Windows client, Windows Mobile and Windows Live. Microsoft is going to make sure users know that all three of these are Windows in its various guises. From the article:
"Aside from the flagship Windows 7, which will succeed Vista for PCs, the company will launch a new version of Windows Mobile as well as a new version of the services known as Windows Live. For the first time, they're going to be promoted as aspects of the same thing."
Microsoft already is stepping up its campaign to more tightly integrate Windows 7 with Windows Live services -- its Web-based mail, instant-messaging, security, photo-management and more. And Microsoft Chairman Gates recently played up the fact that Microsoft plans to make Windows client more tightly aligned with Windows Mobile.
Wonder if part of the campaign will involve Microsoft turning the "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" campaign on its head?
What do you think the Softies should be spending that extra $200 million in marketing on, as part of its attempt to help improve Vista's (and Windows' overall) image?