Microsoft has taken to trashing its own products to flog Office 365 subs


This man has forgotten how to shop

AMERICAN ADVERTS ARE WEIRD. There. We said it. The regulations that our friends across the pond work to are less restrictive than ours, and as a result, trashing the opposition is far fairer game than it is here.

But Microsoft has taken the technique to the next level, by demonstrating how its own new product is better than… it’s own new product.

The ‘Twins Challenge’ sees two siblings trying the same tasks, one using the latest version of Office 365 and the other the newly-released Office 2019.

What may seem a very odd move on the face of it, is actually a way for Microsoft to show its long-held belief that the future of productivity is online (hello, Google G Suite) and confirms our long-held suspicion that it only released Office 2019 because it absolutely felt it had to.

Of course, Microsoft would rather you used Office 365. The online service attracts a fixed monthly fee, whereas Office 2019 only bags them a single price, so the company is very keen to show the added value that being online brings to the party.

Having said that, a year’s subscription fees to Office 365 costs almost the same as buying Office 2019 outright over a two-year usage cycle, so the added value is really the killer key-change. Let’s just not mention the fact that it has had regular outages.

We’re not here to tell you that (though we’ve embedded one of the ads below, featuring what looks like two rejects from Haim) – we’re here to tell you about the tactic, not sound the bugle for Microsoft (goodness forbid).

What’s fascinating here is that Microsoft isn’t trying to compete with other companies, but rather itself. What it is actually advertising is Microsoft’s overarching cloud-first software-as-a-service strategy and hoping that people will buy in, so it can kill off Office 2019 once and for all. Which seems unlikely at the moment, though we suspect to see more of this type of promotion in the coming years, so maybe Office 2021 or 2023 could be the suite’s swansong. μ

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