Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, it develops, manufactures, licenses, supports and sells computer software, consumer electronics and personal computers and services. It is best known for software products. Such as Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office office suite, and Internet Explorer web browser. Its flagship hardware products are Xbox game console and the Microsoft Surface series of tablets. It is the world’s largest software maker measured by revenues. It is also one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975. Its main objective is to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Microsoft Windows. The company’s 1986 initial public offering, and subsequent rise in its share price, created an estimated three billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. It is considered the third most successful startup company of all time by market capitalization, revenue, growth and cultural impact. Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions. In May 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in its largest acquisition to date.
As of 2013, Microsoft is market dominant in both the IBM PC-compatible operating system and office software suite markets. The company also produces a wide range of other software for desktops and servers, and is active in areas including internet search, the video game industry, the digital services market, and mobile phones. In June 2012, Microsoft entered the personal computer production market for the first time, with the launch of the Microsoft Surface, a line of tablet computers. ///////////
Re-branding, Windows 8, and Surface
Shadowing the release of Windows Phone, Microsoft underwent a gradual re-branding of its product range throughout the year 2011 and 2012’the corporation’s logos, products, services, and websites adopted the principles and concepts of the Metro design language. Microsoft trailer 8, an operating system designed to power both personal computers and tablet computers, in Taipei in June 2011. On May 31, 2012, the trailer version was released. ///////////////
Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating software is a product.
The concept of ‘three levels of a product’ comes into use when the company was finalizing a product for the business or when they want to analyze the product. Any product has its hierarchy, just like any other business. A product can be divided into n number of series of different features and benefits which in turn helps into segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP). Therefore the three levels of the products are the ones which help the company to define a product in an amended manner. Those three levels are as follows:
‘ Core product
‘ Actual product
‘ Augmented product
Past defining the core product, a company can achieve marketing excellence. Core product is also famed as benefits and is general intangible in nature.
Let us take an example:
Suppose a company is planning to launch its own car manufacturing unit. Then, what would be its core product? Would it be car? The answer would be ‘NO’. The core product would be convenience of the customers. The customers can also travel by bus or taxi or metro. But they prefer cars because of comfortableness, suitability as well as because of the status symbol. Therefore the core product in case of Tata cars will be convenience they give to their customers and value for money whereas in case of BMW the core product will be the Status symbol. /////
The Actual product is the one which is manufactured by the manufacturers after the decision has been taken on what the core product is going to be. Therefore, if the core product for a company is a status symbol, the actual product would be of a very high quality and with the high monetary value. On the other hand if the product is a convenience product, the production would be on the basis of value for money. Actual products are quantitative in nature and have belongings like color, branding, quality, service etc.
The Augmented product arises by core and actual and is the byproducts of the core and actual products. They may be complete products within themselves. If a company is manufacturing a car, it would need regular servicing, warranty for the cars. Therefore they become third products or augmented products. There are/ businesses which are devoted completely in providing augmented products for example service centers, AMC centers etc.
The three levels of a product are not only useful for Tangible products but for Intangible product also like services.
For example ‘ If an IT company makes software, the core product would be made accordant to the operations and management for the customers./ The actual product may be dedicated to multiple facets of an organization for which the software needs to be planned, and the augmented product may be the maintenance of this software and regular up gradation. Thus, the services and products have their own three levels. /////////
The three product levels play a vital role in product management and are also vital while deciding the marketing mix of a business. If there is an augmented product attached to the actual product, then its promotion, placing and pricing of the augmented products needs to be decided by the company. Thus product decisions are generally the primary decisions of the marketing mix. /////////////////
‘ Core Product Level Marketing
The core product is not actually the product itself; it is the key benefit that the product offers o the customers. For example, let us take the product as TV; the core product is the benefit of being able to watch the TV programs. Core products are rarely used in marketing because they do not usually offer an agonistically edge over rivals. For example, the welfare of being able to watch TV programs is not enough to stimulate customers that a particular TV is advanced. It can be used, however, if the product offers rare and new benefits to the customers./////////////////////
‘ Actual Product Level Marketing
The actual product is the physical product that the customer buys. If the customer buys a boat, the actual product is the boat with its various physical dimensions. Marketing at this particular level involves the design, style and quality of the product. A firm should design its products to fit the needs of the consumers. For instance, if market research shows that consumers want moderately priced sailboats and that quality is a low concern, then the firm should produce boats that fit that market and consumer demand.””””””’..
‘ Augmented Product Marketing Level
The augmented product includes all the additional services that are additionally provided on to a product in order to add value to the product and differentiate the product. This includes factors such as customer service, warranties and financing. This level of marketing has the greatest potential to influence customers and differentiate products from the competitors. For example, two cars might have the same core public presentation and the actual products might be nearly indistinguishable, but a firm that markets its additional services can create additional value in the eyes of the consumer.////////////
‘ Combining of all the Levels
Although marketing occurs at three distinct levels, it is very important for the firms to include all three in their overall marketing. A good marketing initiative will promote the core product, the actual product and the augmented product. For example, a computer might be marketed as a device that allows people to run programs and access the Internet (core product), as a high quality device with an innovative design (actual product) and as offering an extended warranty and customer service (augmented product). ///////////
COMPARISON BETWEEN WINDOWS 7 AND WINDOWS 8
BASIS WINDOWS 7 WINDOWS 8
‘ The familiar desktop ‘ ‘
‘ Works with a mouse and keyboard ‘ ‘
‘ Works with word, excel, outlook, and other familiar programs ‘ ‘
‘ Built for touch PCs and tablets ‘
‘ Apps from the windows store ‘
‘ Mail, people, and other built-in apps ‘
‘ Keep your settings and apps on all your PCs and devices ‘ ‘
‘ Start screen with live updates ‘
‘ Faster startup times ‘
‘ Bing smart search to find things across the web, apps, and your PC ‘
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