J Allard Must Have Cringed…

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It can be tough doing media events with your boss…

Just ask Microsoft’s J Allard.

jallard.jpgFrom his days heading up development of the XBOX 360 platform to his role as head of Microsoft’s consumer products division, J Allard has always been able to articulate a compelling vision of where Microsoft is going. So with the launch of a new generation of Microsoft’s Zune, it’s no surprise that he and his boss – Bill Gates – have taken to the road in support of their new line of media players.

One press opportunity they shared was an interview with Jeff Leeds of the New York Times. With an eloquence only the richest man in the world could get away with, Gates (unfortunately) offered some context for the new devices by discussing the initial Zune launch:

“For something we pulled together in six months, we are very pleased with the satisfaction we got,” Bill Gates, Microsoft’s chairman, said in an interview Tuesday. “The satisfaction for the device was superhigh. The satisfaction on the software actually is where we’d expect to see a huge uptick this year. It was just so-so on the software side.”

Wow. Really makes you glad they updated it!…

Without a doubt, that’s not the kind of pitch Steve Jobs would make to introduce a new iPod. Allard gets the chance to jump in at some point and does a really good job getting his message out. I not sure if I agree with his bigger vision for social network integration, but it’s definitely an interesting approach. (If you get a chance, the article is worth a read.)

When Microsoft finally releases the upcoming Vista Service Pack, they’ll probably be sending Bill back on the road to fire up sales again and re-energize the channels. I’m sure the marketing folks are already hard at work writing the script for him to follow:

“For something we slapped together in five years, we were very pleased with the satisfaction level folks are having with Vista. Sure, we had to hack out most of the really cool features we originally promised, but that’s going to give us something to promise now for the next few releases. Overall, the packaging and the marketing for the original Vista were great. It was just so-so on the software side.”

Then again, maybe they’ll have Bill sit that one out…

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