Microsoft vs. Google: Will MSN, Windows Live compete?

Microsoft Steve Berkowitz upstaged by Ms. Dewey, LIVE in the Big Apple, and it was by design!
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

Microsoft Steve Berkowitz upstaged by Ms. Dewey, LIVE in the Big Apple, and it was by design!

Many portray the Google $3.1 billion cash buyout of DoubleClick as above all a defensive play thwarting Microsoft from acquiring the banner ad serving system which would have provided  critical mass, and credibility, throughout the Web in online advertising.

Microsoft needs to bolster its own in-house online advertising credibility, first and foremost. 

Steve Berkowitz, senior vice president of the Online Services Group, responsible for marketing, sales and business development for both MSN.com and Windows Live, keynoted Wednesday at the SES conference in New York City.

As I report in Microsoft MSN vs. Windows Live dance continues, rather than seize the opportunity to settle the “brand war,” he acknowledged it and intimated a continuation, for the foreseeable future.


The sole clarity Berkowitz offered was confirmation that Microsoft’s dual strategy would persist with an apparent goal of leveraging opportunities from each brand.


How would each brand be leveraged, independently, then? The Berkowitz case presented for Microsoft’s online future was vague:


Windows Live “brings the PC to the Web,” Berkowitz said, to the “cloud server in the sky.” It can be viewed as a platform extension of Windows onto the Internet, Berkowitz indicated, extending the Windows presence and value proposition.

MSN represents a powerful, familiar and popular asset that should be enhanced, not discarded, according to Berkowitz. Future planned enhancements include integration of more social content and a focus on signature, live events.

How will Berkowitz drive value from both Windows Live and MSN? Apparently in a very corporate, generic way: By “unlocking the potential” of the vast Microsoft technological and marketing talent for innovation “around the core.”

When will Microsoft users see clarity between MSN and Windows Live? It will come via product development, eventually, Berkowitz said.

If Microsoft truly was in the bidding for DoubleClick, Berkowtitz undoubtedly knew at the time of his keynote that the prize was to go to Google.

Berkowitz did not make the most of a Microsoft opportunity to clearly define its online advertising vision directly to influential marketers and SELL Microsoft solutions. Rather, the spotlight shown brightly on Ms. Dewey, a “marketing program we developed several months ago,” as described by Berkowitz.

Steve Ballmer is Microsoft’s top pitch man; I saw him “Sell to Retail” earlier in the year in New York City, big time.

In a similar vein, Berkowtiz ought to be the prime spokesperson touting “Look who’s at the CENTER of the new digital media,” as the Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions online sales collateral does enthusiastically.


At Microsoft, there’s something we understand deeply: the intersection of the consumer and technology. After all, we built our company around it. As more and more consumers spend more and more time online—always connected, using multiple devices—we’ll help you reach them.

The purpose of Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions is to empower you to connect with your target consumers across multiple digital touchpoints—and optimize your advertising impact through our world-class partnership services.


Reach your target audience, engange your brand. Our solutions empower you to connect with your consumers as they access differnet media at various points throughout the day--from PCS to games to mobile devices...and even more in the future.


Microsoft may reach “465 million unique consumers each month globally,” but on Wednesday, Berkowtiz did not pitch them effectively to the advertiser audience his team seeks to reach.


ALSO: Google DoubleClick merger: Who wins, who loses and Google DoubleClick marriage (can be) risky business and Google hurts Yahoo with DoubleClick deal and Google: $3.1 billion cash for Web monopoly! and Google to tag users across Web: Privacy Boomerang?

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