An Open Letter to Windows Media Center Users: Show Microsoft the Money
Dear Windows Media Center Aficionados Across the World,
I know you’ve been patient. I know you’ve been, at times, frustrated. I know you aren’t asking for much. So I’m going to wager that some of you may be a tad peeved over Microsoft’s recent announcement that, starting with Windows 8, Media Center will be a pay-for add-on — and limited to Windows 8 Professional licenses.
In fact, I argue that this is the best outcome for Media Center from a pure commercial perspective. As I mentioned in my wildly optimistic editorial on the same topic, giving Media Center its own product code gives us — the consumers — an opportunity to voice our support the only way that free market capitalism recognizes: the all-mighty dollar (insert your local currency of choice, it’ll all end up being converted to dollars in the end, though).
Now, in that same editorial, I was working off of the (inaccurate) rumor that there would be a specific version of Windows 8 dedicated to Media Center. While that would have been good, the official news that Media Center will be part of an add-on media pack for Windows 8 Pro is even better. I submit that this actually reinforces the positive perspective I advocated in my prior post — that Microsoft is specifically targeting Windows Media Center at the professional market, while allowing Xbox to take care of the needs of the mass consumer market.
To me, on the face of it, this not only makes perfect sense from a marketing/segmentation perspective. but Media Center users will soon get to directly express interest and support for a professional-grade media management system by paying for it — just like Xbox Live users express their interest by paying for services that they desire. With enough support, Microsoft will have no choice but to regain interest in the best professional-grade media center system available today.
So, Media Center users, fans, and critics alike — I implore you to embrace Microsoft’s new marketing strategy… for our own good. Yes, paying for something that we’ve been using gratis for years may be a bitter pill to swallow. But swallow it anyway. It’ll be in service of our collective, enlightened best interest.
Do you think an unexpected surge in Windows 8 Pro media add-on pack purchases in six months’ time would raise some eyebrows in Redmond? I do.
PS – To hear more about all the potentially wonderful things that could sprout from this new Media Center marketing strategy, please take a listen to this Entertainment 2.0 podcast that Josh & Richard invited me to participate in on April 3, 2012.