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'Be a thinker not a stinker'

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Microsoft’s top flack has been physically and metaphorically running up hills in the last few days in an effort to find out what’s gone wrong at Redmond HQ.

The company’s Frank X Shaw penned a navel-gazing missive to staff, a full transcript of which was picked up by All Things Digital, late last week.

Microsoft’s comms boss also published a corporate blog post, containing some stirring numbers about the software vendor’s biz that some have argued don’t quite add up.

His public comments offer reasons why “2010 is shaping up as a huge year for” Microsoft. But behind closed doors, Shaw has been examining why perceptions about the company are effectively at an all-time low. And he’s trying to rouse the Redmond troops into action to help rid bad press from the firm’s doorstep.

“It has been a rough couple of weeks for us from a coverage standpoint. It seems like every time I turn on the computer, or talk to a reporter, or pick up a publication at home, or do a scan of my RSS feeds or Twitter client that I see more stories and opinions about the challenges we have, and how great some of our competitors are doing. iPad this, Droid that, sheesh,” he grumbled to Microsoft staff.

Shaw then went on a lengthy diatribe about jogging up hills and improving the lives of billions of people across the world with Microsoft’s products and services.

“Right now, we are massively over-indexed in thinking and knowing about our losses and challenges. But what of our wins?” he pondered, perhaps with the Rocky theme running through his marketer head.

Shaw is of course the go-to man when it comes to Microsoft protecting its somewhat dented brand. Even with the success of Windows 7 sales and genuine enthusiasm from web surfers for Bing, the company is hurt that the Google, Apple and even Salesforce.com competition is hotly pursuing - in some cases overtaking - its ragged tail.

At the same time, it doesn’t help Microsoft a jot that Shaw’s number crunching is, in places, questionable.

But even Shaw admits that it’s hard to create “any true believers” in the software maker’s current state of play in the tech market. He doesn’t think customers are getting the real message about the Microsoft brand and Shaw has urged staff to “tell their story” and help turn perceptions around.

“This is our job. We don’t just represent the products and services we work on, we represent the company all up. Be ready to tell that story. Tell it to your co-workers here at Microsoft, to your family and friends, to members of the media. They know about our challenges, they don’t know about our wins and momentum. So tell them,” he said.

We at Vulture Central feel that all this shows quite how far Microsoft has jumped the shark while running uphill and pitifully screaming for “ADRIAN!”... ®

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