30 November 2010

Are Microsoft and Yahoo Still Relevant?

Yahoo has had its share of troubles lately and is still struggling from a degree of missteps combined with neglect and a smattering of hubris.

So let's consider things in context. Let's just look at email. With Facebook entering the fray - Yahoo still has more subscribers than the other two closes competitors (Gmail and Hotmail) combined.

But Yahoo is struggling to redefine itself in a world where search is dominated by Google and where the portal concept is slowly dying. People want more than just a gateway to content. They want to get there faster with less clicks. And Yahoo just doesn't hack it. The Social web is just so big that just by concentrating on it - as Facebook has - that the value can be mined. So Yahoo can be ignored by those who matter - the users and the advertisers.

Microsoft's value is harder to ignore. It owns several platforms not least of which is XBox. But the de-emphasis on the brand Microsoft has made the uber-brand less relevant. Of course it still carries its relevance in the corporate arena but even here it is under attack. The upsurge in Bing has clearly allowed them to stay in the game. But its a hard fought battle. But look at the brand cemetery from Redmond. MSN is probably about as relevant as Yahoo.

It is of course easy to go for the media darlings - Google and Facebook at the top end, with strong showings from Apple (iEverything) Groupon and Twitter. The long term winners must continue to make their brands and value proposition relevant. For this you have to be relentless at making your brand topical.

Good luck with that!

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