Microsoft: The Compelling Event killers

Sales people know about compelling events, and if you’ve ever bought something you’ll know about them too. Buy now, get one free, but only until Thursday. End of quarter deals, Y2K, all examples of why you need to buy now. Every company and sales person uses them. Sometimes they are real, sometimes they are a little more nebulous, it doesn’t matter, it works.

At the end of the day sales people’s job is to make you buy on a time scale that works for them, not necessarily for the client. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it happens every day.

Most companies compete to have more attractive compelling events. Microsoft has perfected the exact opposite. What I shall call the stop and wait technique.

Microsoft have been incredibly effective at stopping clients buying other companies products and services while not actually selling anything themselves, and delaying them for years.

Let me demonstrate with a couple of examples.

Microsoft Lync was first announced in as Office Communicator 2007 on July 28th 2007. Did anyone buy it? Perhaps a few, but there is no question is stalled a thousand projects for Avaya, Mitel, and Cisco. Most analysts would agree that Lync (now Skype for Business) is ready for prime time. So Microsoft managed to delay many many client purchase decisions for years.

Just this week Microsoft has just won two awards at the the prestigiousLetsDoVideo readers choice awards.

The Microsoft Surface Hub won both awards as voted for by end users, resellers and manufacturers.

Let’s look at this with a critical eye. This product was shown off at Infocomm15, and it was widely criticised for being badly thought through and not remotely ready for prime time. Microsoft took these criticisms on board and have delayed the launch date until some point next year.

Hang on a minute, WTAF !!!

So Microsoft have just won two readers choice awards with products that don’t exist, that no one has and you can’t even buy. The folks at Prysm and Smart must be pulling their hair out. How can you compete with a phantom, a thing that doesn’t exist (and there’s nothing wrong with)


Technology has a long history of Vaporware. Products demonstrated but with an army of oompa loompa’s peddling like crazy in the basement making it work is pretty standard stuff. I’ve even been involved in such things. It’s the nature of technology.

The long view

Microsoft has taken this to an art form. Announcing products years before they are ready for prime time. Microsoft takes that rarest of things in the technology world. The long view. It works and it’s genius, but boy is it annoying for everyone else.

LetsDoVideo Awards

Just as a matter of record all the other LetsDoVideo award winners actually have shipping products.