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The Science of Hitting
The Science of Hitting
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Microsoft at Mobile World Congress

February 29, 2012 | About:

For Microsoft (MSFT) investors, the talk around mobile has been disappointing to date; while strides have been made on the product end (as indicated by good reviews from reputable sources), that hasn’t been replicated in the form of sales or higher market share. With the Nokia deal inked last year, the expectation that Microsoft now had a platform & distribution to ride to market, in addition to billions for advertising & marketing. To date, the company has had relatively little to say about any of these initiatives in particular, which isn’t surprising considering that management is often tight lipped…

On Wednesday, the company opened up ever so slightly: Terry Myerson, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Phone Division, spoke to investors at the Mobile World Congress (link here); some of the highlights from the event appear below:

The biggest challenge: building customer awareness – “Delivering that right experience to the end user, that's very much on my mind; and then we just need all sorts of ads to ensure they find out about it. In many ways, I think that our biggest challenges right now are not with regard to building a product. I think the reviews are all great. The customer satisfaction scores are great. And our challenges are really about building consumer awareness.”

On OEM partner Nokia (NOK) – “Well, with Nokia what we have is our most committed OEM… essentially we can do work on the demand side with consumers, but we need to do work on the supply side, and having a partner who is very clearly working to make that market is critical. And so we're doing everything we can to support them.”

On marketing changes – “I think the big change we're making at the highest level is, we have invested our marketing efforts historically through partner marketing… our emphasis in the phone space will be on consumer marketing. I think that we need to rebuild the Windows [Phone] brand with consumers, and drive demand up there.”

Urgency of the marketing push – “It really takes time to build up speed… and we are, unfortunately, changing our marketing approach, [so] picking up speed again is going to take us a little time. And I'm not talking time in years, I'm talking time in months. And we're focused on marketing.”

Still quite vague, but at least one thing is starting to become clear: Microsoft will be making a big push to grab the attention of consumers; considering the lead that Android (GOOG) and iOS (AAPL) have, they are going to need it.

About the author:

The Science of Hitting
I'm a value investor with a long-term focus. As it relates to portfolio construction, my goal is to make a small number of meaningful decisions a year. In the words of Charlie Munger, my preferred approach to investing is "patience followed by pretty aggressive conduct". I run a concentrated portfolio, with a handful of equities accounting for the majority of its value. In the eyes of a businessman, I believe this is sufficient diversification.

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