Microsoft’s Windows Everywhere challenge – rebranding the Xbox

I’ve been doing competitive analysis between Apple and Microsoft re: the fight for hearts and minds and the results have been fascinating (and in some cases surprising).

I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of that analysis over the coming weeks but today I want to talk about Windows Everywhere.

Windows Everywhere is the unofficial strategy that Microsoft have adopted about getting Microsoft products adopted everywhere (home, business, work, play, phone, tablet etc)

In August of 2011, I wrote about the evolution of Microsoft. In that article, I wrote about how I thought Microsoft was moving in the right direction as they slowly but surely started to unify their OS platform.

Windows on Phones, Windows on PC’s, Windows at home, Windows on laptops, Windows on tablets and Windows on Servers.

A pretty impressive spread with much wider potential reach than Apple’s unified platform.

Apple have phones, tablets, PC’s, laptops and the home (Apple TV) and they also have done a pretty good job.

Let’s focus on Apple and Microsoft in the home

I have an Apple TV box.

An Apple TV Box

An Apple TV Box

It’s small, non intrusive, cheap ($99) and incredibly effective at what it does. It’s function is to be a bridge to my TV for all my Apple devices.

It also has all the multimedia addons (Netflix, Apple Trailers etc) that we have come to expect and now, we stream movies from our iPads to our TV regularly.

We also use the device to look at photos etc. It’s effective.

Microsoft on the other hand, have the Xbox which is wildly successful.

It has the multimedia accoutrements as well and I expect there will be more detailed phone, tablet and PC integration in the future.

In fact this quote from Thenextweb  shows how well the Xbox is doing:

Today Microsoft made it known that its Xbox franchise has reached a fresh milestone: entertainment usage on the devices has surpassed multiplayer gaming for the first time.

PCMag manage to extract some granular information from Microsoft concerning market usage of the Xbox console: “since new entertainment apps were added to the Xbox 360 in December, total hours spent on Xbox Live have increased 30 percent year over year, while entertainment app usage has more than doubled in the same period. Gold members in the U.S. also average 84 hours every month on Xbox Live.” Those figure are impressive, and insinuate that the Xbox has become a device that people of nearly all ages enjoy.

Gone are the days of young gamers pining after the latest gaming gadget; the Xbox 360 is needed by the whole family. The old joke seems to be real after all: the older you get, the more your Xbox 360 turns into a Netflix Box.

Sounds great right?

But not so fast. There’s a slight problem.

While the data shows that people who have an Xbox are using it as a multimedia device, it’s still branded as a video game device.

When you hear Xbox, you associate that with video games and the PS 3 comes to mind as a competitor.

Going forward, I believe that’s a problem.

From a marketing perspective, it’s hard to effectively dual brand a product.

You can’t really say buy this because it plays video games and also connects to the web and lets you watch movies etc.

That message works well for attracting video gamers but doesn’t appeal to the non gaming general public.

I think that Microsoft have 2 options.

  1. Keep the Xbox branding the same and come up with an affordable Apple TV clone.
  2. Rebrand the Xbox as a multimedia device that plays video games – More difficult

I believe that the next generation of the Xbox will be rebranded in 2013 – heck the name might even change to Homebox 8 or something (wild guess).

It would be a brand new start to introducing Microsoft as a hub in the home as well as providing continuity to current Xbox users and subscribers.

That’s my thesis for today.

What say you? Does that make sense?

Let me know in the comments below…

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • Rodney Longoria

    I agree with you, Oliver. The Xbox is a little steep in price to buy for multimedia (since I don’t play video games these days). Give me a box dedicated to entertainment for a smaller price tag and I might buy it.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      That seems to be the consensus.

  • Kenneth Soares

    Give the Xbox a Browser and it will instantly be 100x better. even if it’s “ie”. and if a browser were to be added it would have to be for free because no one will ever pay to use a browser when they could get get on their computer or smartphone. that means free not as an additional incentive to get xbox live, free. just my thoughts.

    • http://www.windows8update.com/ Onuora Amobi

      Why is a browser important to you – just curious?

      • Kenneth Soares

        Because I like to browse the web. I like to steam my music, watch videos, play games online. If this is to continue to become a multimedia system, then people will want to be able to access their content, such as being able to download pictures, videos, and music directly to the console rather then having to transfer these through USB flash drives. Having a browser is simply a convenience. I own an Xbox 360 Slim and the limitations on what you can access is great. You can only install these apps only, and only if you have xbox live. You are only given one choice of music marketplaces (zune music) and you have a bing search bar that only searches for what you typed in, in the apps. It really is a limitation in usability. Just my thoughts.

  • Darkpr0fit

    I think you are right, however the Xbox has one major issue, it’s not easily portable. You can’t use it like a mobile device. I know what a lot of people are going to say that it was never intended as a mobile device, however that’s the issue. Think about a Microsoft device that can play games, Xbox games on a mobile device, that can also access the web, email social sites etc. if ms could develope a device like that, it could dominate the market. Hell Sony, and others are close to that now. Try to surf the web on your Xbox.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WJGC7242GFDP2QXANKF5WTMEA Rex

      You are right when you say people will say it is not supposed to be portable.  Well at least, that is what I will say.  I dont want a screen attatched to something I will just connect to my TV.  Now a portable tablet version is not a bad idea, but xbox live is going to be available on windows 8 tablets, so maybe you will be able to get what you want.  I would like to see tablets be able to be used as a controller for Xbox, like  the U-wii.  I think many people have said this.

  • 4scoresn7yrsago

    I don’t really like Xbox, but it’s rising ahead of Sony’s PS3 console. Microsoft has cone along way with the xbox, i don’t think thyey are gonna step up and improve it and renaming the whole brand, but it is a good field of insights.

  • Indra Nawawi Daeng Parani

    Dear Onuora,

    This troubles me, until now I don’t have much knowledge on Apple Product, and how can I make the comparison and judge The SWOT for Apple? Most of my family members use Apple Products only me that have slight knowledge on Windows.

    Before the birth of Windows, I refuse to study an opening for computer at the AIT ( Asean Institute of Technology ) in Bankok, Thailand. I rather choose to settle down in my homeland and find a wider knowledge in technology. but unfrendliness things happen and in return I have to study computer trial and error by myself. The first command.com was introduce by Microsoft has encourage me to follow the subject where it has driven most of my time learning DOS (Disket Operating System) including the ASCII language. Then Windows 3.1 shows a better look on computer program, by that time the New Turbo Pascal Program was introduce in the market which teaches us how to make good program using buttons.
    Windows XP made the difference for the look of Windows, it took sometimes until the New Operating System Vista was release which then followed by Windows 7.

    Today, Microsoft has release Windows Developer Preview, Windows Consumer Preview, and maybe Windows Release Candidate which is still under construction by Microsoft.
    Most of the computer program today are use for fast and easy task and to entertaint people, so it’s better to apply a better VGA so that it invite people of any age to use the true computer vision using the best visuality ever manufactured by the best company. 
    I’m sure the tech department can easily solve the problem. I have not master the Xbox yet, in the mean time the use of Classical Windows tools seems enough for Multimedia needs for this time. I’ll catch and see how the progress going on in todays Multimedia world.

    April 4, 2012
    Thank you

  • Haycomputingsolutions

    Re branding the Xbox as an all in one could work if it truly was.  Which it is not.  Let me explain the PS3 does go on the net and allows you to surf any channel any site any time.  Were as Xbox does not have that feature to my understanding there are introducing Bing.  Bad idea in my mind I think bing is a far cry from Google for many reasons I wont bore you with.  But until Microsoft makes the Xbox 360 or 720 or what ever they call the next one coming out next year.  Into a full computer/entertainment unit they will continue to fail to the likes of Sony and apple.  Btw I own all the systems.

  • Jbouknight

    Interesting …. the Apple ox looks sort of like a ROHU … interesting ….

    • Jbouknight

      That should have read … box … and ROKU

  • http://www.facebook.com/jpdeveau Jason Deveau

    I hate reading comments. Why do I do it? Everyone thinks they are an expert and they just end up pissing me off.