The Battle Over Desktop Real Estate
Sunday 17 February
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by Paul E. Burke
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I was watching a late night financial program on television in early July, 2001 when I learned that Microsoft is allowing PC manufacturers to control which icons are included on new Desktops. Historically, Microsoft has argued that the Windows desktop was their "sacrosanct intellectual property" and that only their icons -- not those of their competitors -- could reside on the desktop of a new computer.
This was highly interesting to me since it confirms what I have been repeatedly saying over the past year -- that the Windows desktop is extremely valuable marketing real estate. As a matter of fact, Microsoft and its competitors found it to be so valuable that a federal court case was fought over access to the desktop (among other issues regarding the Windows operating system).
It is interesting that there are still naysayers who question the marketing power of the Windows desktop. One person comes to mind who wrote me to say that he thought desktop marketing was a "neat gimmick." I was incredulous at this kind of uninformed attitude! You don't have to be a marketing genius to see that the desktop is perhaps one of the most *logical* places to advertise. Think about it. What other screen on the entire computer system is the first screen you see when you boot up? What other screen is always visible? The Windows desktop!
It is clear that Microsoft and their competitors don't view the Windows desktop as a "neat gimmick." Federal court cases that cost millions of dollars are not fought over gimmicks no matter how "neat" they may be.
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