Re: Gates on CSPAN

Robert S. Thau (
Thu, 1 May 1997 14:06:40 -0400 (EDT) writes:

> hmm... Interesting. Well whatever Bill and his gouls were certainly not
> talking about "at Microsoft we believe computing is going to go to these
> area's that all have previously failed in the marketplace." They were
> simply stating "this is the future of computing, and we need faster
> processors and smaller faster processors to bring this wonderful world to
> you."

Actually, what they're saying is "We, at Microsoft, *are developing*
the future of computing. Look. Here it is, right now, in our
expensive labs. We have the resources required to do it, and to do it
right." This is corporate image-building 101 --- they aren't trying
to pitch any particular product or service, but to paint a picture of
Microsoft as a whole as being forward-looking, savvy, and technically
knowledgable regarding new computing technologies, including those not
yet on the market.

That forward-looking image, in turn, can be useful afterward for sales
("you know us. We know how to make things work."), parrying
competitors' sales pitches ("you know us. *We* can't make it work.
Who are these other guys who say they can?"), dealing with government
("we know what's best for the future of the industry because we are
building it"), and so forth.

So, this kind of image-building can help Microsoft without being tied
directly to sales pitches for any *particular* (present or future)
product. In fact, pitching products directly in the middle of a show
like this can be counter-productive; people tend to be skeptical about
sales pitches, and that skepticism could easily spill over onto the
rest of the presentation if the two are closely associated.
Conversely, if the information seems to come "from C-SPAN" --- that
is, from a source widely regarded as having no particular axe to grind
--- rather than from Microsoft itself, that will tend to lower the
viewers' guard, which is all to the good of Redmond.

None of this is in any way unique to Microsoft, of course. The ads
for Archer-Daniels Midland and General Electric on the Sunday morning
follies (Meet the Press, Face the Nation, This Week) are a fascinating

(BTW, are these Bill's "ghouls", or something else?)