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How to Kill a Brand 101: the Microsoft Sidekick Fiasco

danger-sidekick-microsoft For a company that prides itself on doing the right thing at the right time – witness their seeming acquiescence for over three years, to the totally inaccurate I’m a PC, I’m a Mac  ads from Apple, Microsoft sure fubar’d this incident.

What went wrong?

For the past week, I have watched and listened as absolutely no Microsoft C-level executive stepped up to the plate, and owned the meltdown, on behalf of Microsoft, the company.

That was totally disheartening!

For over a week since I first heard of the incident, I didn’t hear a peep from Microsoft.

As you would expect, tongues started wagging, and every one started piling on with their conspiracy stories. I am not going to give credence to those rumors by enumerating them here, though.

A couple of things bothered me:

  1. Didn’t Microsoft have backups? For real! Did Microsoft, a company that wants all of your cloud business, and on the cusp of releasing Azure*, not have a backup strategy or regimen for Sidekick users’ data?
  2. Doesn’t Microsoft have a unit charged with rapidly responding to situations like this? This one is particularly painful. Especially since I almost always get someone to contact me when a product goes bad. Yes, they are that responsive! Which makes the anomalous silence during the Sidekick episode even more alarming! I am sure many a prospective candidate for Azure is asking themselves if they should still take the plunge.
  3. Didn’t the Program Manager for the product, have enough pride in the product to stand up for it? Where is pride in your work? No one stood up!

After utterly destroying the product, and the brand value contained therein, Microsoft came up with the following messaging, evidently crafted by lawyers to mollify their users:

sidekick1 It is at times like this that I regret my decision, at the behest of some of my most trusted friends, to refrain from IMO appropriate profanity.

This is what they could do?

Who get’s fired?

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*I have been a beta tester, and going forward, I am going to be a consumer of Azure, in all forms.

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