zondag, maart 05, 2006

MSN strategy update

Terwijl op de achtergrond de Oscar uiteiking op de tv aan staat en Crash net de Oscar voor beste film gewonnen heeft wil ik de een update geven over mijn bezoek aan Seattle voor de MSN strategic partner summit. Hier kregen de partners van MSN een kijkje in de keuken van de toekomst van MSN en Live. Allereerst wil ik hierbij zeggen dat Microsoft echt weet hoe ze partners in de watten moeten leggen. Het geheel was super georganiseerd. Maar ik neem aan dat ze daar al heel wat ervaring mee hebben. De rest van de update is in engels, zodat een breder publiek alles kan volgen.
  • Microsoft would like to address a broader public on the internet. They distinguish between two groups of users.
    • MSN, these people appreciate easiness. They would like to know what’s going on in the world and are happy with the predetermined content that MSN is providing them with.
    • Windows Live, Microsoft calls this group the Internet Optimizer (sounds familiar?? J). This group knows exactly what they want, and they can do it themselves. Of the Internet population, this group makes 23%. However they are responsible for 63% of the online revenue. Across properties MSN is reaching 93% of this group.
  • For the MSN platform they identified 3 pillars to build their offering of services on
    • Fast
    • Engaging
    • Programmed
  • A great example of what can be done with partners, in the new structure is the new travel channel of MSN.com; http://travel.msn.com/default.aspx where there are three experiences serviced.
    • Bookings
    • Research fro travel. i.e. you can have your favorite search saved, so you won’t have to type in your destination all the time round. This can be captured in a gadget as well, so the experience can be transferred to Live at any moment, or set in a RSS alert.
    • Inspiration, read stories or articles from other travelers.
  • MSN would like to win through partnerships
    • Continue to be the most creative & innovative content partner
    • Integrate deeper
    • New tools & technology
    • Partner through identifying new trends
  • Live.com will be user driven. The target group is the more experienced internet user. They identified the high costs involved for this group, visiting other content sites. Costs associated with
    • Fragmented content
    • Complicated content
    • Impersonal content
    • Irrelevant content
  • The principles around Windows Live are
    • User in the centre
    • Rapid change in innovation
    • Winning the audience
    • Scalable service
  • Live.com will consist of two main types of content
    • RSS feeds; users decide which feeds they sign up to. Next week Microsoft will announce an acquisition of a RSS aggregation company at Etech.
    • Gadgets; room for developer community to design Gadgets for people to be used in Live environment. Here is room for mash ups or other localized services; i.e. the bus schedule for Helsinki Finland. Check out Microsoft gadget site, http://microsoftgadgets.com/
  • What Live.com is for partners,
    • Today it is al about RSS feeds and Gadgets.
    • Tomorrow Live has more room for Co branded portals, Theme pages and Tabs.
  • On MSN/ Windows Live search Microsoft have four strategic focus points
    • Better & faster in answering questions. Not focused around keywords, rather build around what questions they should be answering.
    • Broader selection from information. Expanding their index.
    • Integrated with user experience. Here you can think of search as a core part of the computing experience, where you get integrations with desktop applications.
    • Platform for innovation. They made it really clear that the search engine of Microsoft can be used on your own site though a SOAP API. You will even be able to adapt the algorithm.

  • Within search they will have the ability to target the audience with local results, by reverse IP targeting. Microsoft is looking for a search experience on a local level, what has not been done before. They want to control local search on the internet. In combination with Virtual earth and Street Side View, they can show the different local searches from different angles, on any device.
  • Image search will be improved in terms of user experience. The users have the opportunity to adjust the size of the thumbnails, have infinite scroll.
  • Desktop Search is taken to the next level, by answering questions like, “Susans emails from last year” which will bring results displaying the emails from Susan in last year!

These innovations will all be announced next week at Etech

  • Microsoft tends to integrate the different products they currently have in to each other. Building on the Messenger/passport profiles they already have. These profiles can be enriched with all sorts of extra data. Users can engage with each other in forms like blogs, social networks, photo sharing, agenda and contact list sharing.
Conclusion:

My feeling is that Microsoft has a great vision with a great set of products. The only problem there is, and attending the session by their VP Sales & Marketing and seeing Steve Balmer on stage reassured me in this, is that they don’t have alignment on goals 7 objectives throughout the company. Execution of these ideas will be very difficult when they don’t have instruments in place to make sure all groups are having the same incentives.

Tot zover mijn update over MSN strategie. Moet er wel bij zeggen dat het grappig was om Steve Balmer op het podium te zien. Had een filmpje van hem gezien hoe hij te keer kan gaan op het podium. En de verhalen van het gooien van stoelen door de kamer had mij nog nieuwsgieriger gemaakt. En ik moet zeggen dat het een rare snuiter is. Stem verhevingen en rare blikken het publiek in gooien, was aan de orde van de dag.

En Microsoft weet toch altijd weer de partners in de watten te leggen. Iedereen werd ook nog uitgenodigd voor coctails en diner op de bovenste verdieping van de Space Needle. Erg mooi uitzicht over de stad.

En Microsoft weet toch altijd weer de partners in de watten te leggen. Iedereen werd ook nog uitgenodigd voor coctails en diner op de bovenste verdieping van de Space Needle. Erg mooi uitzicht over de stad.

De avond werd afgesloten met een kaartje leggen of aan de crabs tafel. Daar snap ik nog echt geen barst van. Moet toch maar gaan leren hoe de dobbelstenen gegooid moeten worden voordat je iets wint. Ga in Juni naar Las Vegas!

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