Case Detail

Case Summary

Microsoft Corporation: Branding and Positioning .NET

Case Number: 5-104-034, Year Published: 2006

HBS Number: KEL097

Request PreviewBuy

Authors: Mohanbir Sawhney; Brian Buenneke; Lisa Jackson; Nancy Kulick; Evan Norton; Erica Post; Ran Rotem

Key Concepts

Product Branding, Product Positioning, Brand Architecture, Sub-Branding, Ingredient Branding, Enterprise Software, Value Proposition Design, Technology Marketing


John Williams, senior director of marketing for Microsoft's .NET, was trying to build the .NET brand, a comprehensive family of next-generation connectivity software products. This case highlights the challenges of branding and positioning a complex technology offering. The first challenge Microsoft faced was to develop a common definition of .NET, which had been in flux over the prior two years. The second challenge Microsoft had to consider was the choice between an umbrella branding strategy, a sub-branding strategy and an ingredient branding strategy. The third challenge was to create a value proposition that would appeal to three very different target audiences: business decision makers, IT professionals, and developers.

Number of Pages: 28

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing, Technology

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Seattle, WA

Industry: Computer Software

Organization Name: Microsoft Corporation

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Sr. Director, Marketing

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2002