Bloomberg News reports today that Microsoft is considering a restructuring of the company’s marketing efforts, a move that could cost hundreds of staffers their jobs. The report, citing people familiar with the matter, indicates that the plans have not been firmly set and may change. The restructuring could occur in the next 30 days, and is being led by Chris Capossela who assumed the role of chief marketing officer last year.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer — just appeared at CES for one final keynote — is apparently unhappy with the return on investment in marketing.

In January 2009, Microsoft announced plans to cut 5,000 workers, the biggest layoff in the company’s history.

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  • Guest

    Although this may be a painful move at first, this could be a long-term win for Microsoft. Microsoft has not been able to raise substantial awareness of the products and services they offer, but a coordinated marketing department with strictly-imposed goals will be able to change that.

    I wish Chris the best of luck in removing what has been quite frankly a damper on Microsoft engineers’ accomplishments.

    • Guest

      Lord knows they need to do something.  But as long as Steve has final say, I’m not sure this will amount to more than shuffling the deck chairs on the titanic.

    • Bob

      MS’s marketing definitely needs to be overhauled. But no amount of advertising is going to turn losers into winners when the products in many cases aren’t clearly superior to the competition and routinely arrive three years late to market. The first people that need to be fired are Ballmer and MS’s board, including Gates. They have systematically destroyed this company’s reputation, competitive position, and market value over the past decade. And despite promising it’s going to get better, it just keeps getting worse.

      • Guest

        Remember the Volkswagen Beetle? It was basically 1930s technology sold through the 1970s thanks to clever advertising. Volkswagen has since produced many more high-tech cars, but what really planted that seed in many a Baby Boomer’s belly was a cute VW Beetle ad.

        Likewise, I think Microsoft needs to look at the history books and learn a thing or two about Ferdinand Porsche’s legacy in the motoring world. Perhaps Windows 8 could truly be the “people’s OS,” for example.

      • Teddy70

        Try stepping back from your post and re-reading a few times. The first people that need to be fired are Ballmer, the entire board and it’s chairman, Bill Gates. Just curious, who do YOU think is going to be that person to do all that!
           The company has steadily been adding several billion dollar businesses since Gates stepped aside. The stock price has more to do with the tech sexiness than the YoY increase it generates and is well undervalued. This article pinpoints the very thing that is killing Microsoft, its Marketing. GAP then sold high price clothing and made people think it cost more because it’s the in style. Apple’s marketing makes people preceive that their products are cool. Google does hi-tech adroid ad’s to appeal to a particular demographic. Politians run ad’s to appear they are like us to change our perception of them. Microsoft commercials so far have sucked. Marketing controls perception…therefore restructure!   

  • Werenotbeingdisrupted_honest

    And so begins another typical year for MS. Just 11 days in and we have:

    a) a terrible Ballmer CES keynote, which MS PR is trying to blame on “poor timing”.
    b) a warning for next week’s earnings, which means they’re going to be especially bad.
    c) multiple downward revisions to revenue and earnings by analysts and a prediction that next quarter is going to be even worse.
    d)  layoffs (promoted at fixing the long broken MS marketing, but really just cost-cutting now that PC growth is over and with it MS’s entire so-called “growth strategy”.

    Prediction: another losing year for the stock (that would make three years in a row), significant layoffs beyond these, and Ballmer forced to at least name a replacement by fiscal year end.

    • Naked Gun

      Werenotbeingdisrupted_honest – PC growth is lagging because of those floods in Thailand, haven’t you heard?

      Regarding marketing, how about spending on millions on ad campaigns:

      And then dropping support for the product after a few weeks?

    • Nick White

      These embarrassments sure are damning for Ballmer. Calls for his exit are definitely going to get louder.

  • Mark

    The fantasy that 2012 would finally be MS’s year didn’t last very long.

    • Guest

      No kidding.

  • Hortense

    The marketing ROI problem isn’t about marketing execution. It’s about a poor strategy and inferior products that are late to market. Old crap doesn’t sell. He’s firing the wrong people.


  • Mark

    With a software products life expectancy at 3 years and dropping when you take 3 years to delivery a software product it is by definition DOA.
    Mass production begat mass marketing.  Both are poster children for unsustainable business.  With all this connectivity and similar pieces on so many different tools/mediums MSFT has the chance to go market direct both live and intelligently.  The right info ,on the right tool, right when you need it to consider and potentially buy… this is the transition to sustainable point-to-point intelligent marketing.  One tenth the cost, ten times the ROI.

  • Eli

    Microsoft marketing is an oxymoron..No agency staffer wants to work on such a dysfunctional and bureaucracy ridden business. The old CMO was in way over her head and never had the background for the job other than being a cute PR babe and the new CMO doesn’t have clue either based on the terrible new Windows family ad campaign. Balmer needs to first start hiring capable people that know what they are doing but he is afraid to do that because he is threatened..So they will once again throw hundreds of millions into advertising and marketing and have very little to show for it..The Board should be sued by shareholders for its lack of oversight..this once great company continues on its long decline despite  near term profitability.. In ten years there won’t be a Microsoft because  of what is happening now.

    • Javelinaman

      Historically, this is like the crap Detroit turned out in the 1960s, then the shock when Japan outsold them with real cars in the ’70s. Put fins on those PCs.

  • John

    Get rid of Ballmer. He is problem with Microsoft.

  • MerPetti

    Somebody needs to get to the crux of the issue here. The
    marketing department has been cycling all it’s advertising on the Microsoft
    business fiscal year. That means all their funding is driven by FY spending.
    Not CONSUMER trends. Half the people Chris C inherited don’t know anything
    about Digital Marketing. And it’s not the same animal. MS rolled off Marketing
    when they spun off Razorfish because they could not do it right then and they
    are not doing it right now. Can you say EDUCATE or DIE? Too many warm bodies
    holding a seat and sucking a paycheck while lacking any ability to innovate.
    Marketers get their degree and think they are set for life. Engineers know they
    have to keep up with the new technology or lose their jobs. Marketers need to
    start being more like the engineers.

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