Origami: has Microsoft blown its big chance?

If anyone was expecting a big announcement regarding Microsoft’s already mythical ‘Origami Project‘ today, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed. Another spooky chillout Flash video, lots of vague statements about ‘I am everywhere you are.’ And: ‘come back next week’.
After the rather underwhelming Apple announcement earlier in the week, I really thought this was the Microsoft marketing machine finally getting it. Were we really going to see Redmond out-cool Cupertino? For a while there, it looked like it. Origami is getting lots of nice buzz around it; then suddenly Apple trips up. What an opportunity. And I think they’ve blown it.
The aim of the campaign has – of course – been to build buzz. Well, maybe I’m just reading the right blogs and news sources (even the BBC), but I think the buzz is cranked up to the max. If it were me, I’d have tried to redraw the plans overnight, in the light of Apple’s apparent slip. Get the product out there ASAP. Or at least, say something tangible. I have a nasty feeling that, by next week, we’ll all be sick of the waiting. You can only buzz for so long.
Once again, you’re left wondering how Microsoft can excel on the blogging side (Scoble, Channel 9, MSDN), and misjudge its conventional marketing every time. Dinosaurs, for example. Product naming, for another… I mean, come on, Windows Live Local? The ‘Microsoft redesigns the iPod box‘ video is funny, until you learn (according to Joe Wilcox) that it was produced by someone inside Microsoft. I agree with Joe that self-parody is a good thing, but only up to a point. If everyone recognises there’s a problem here, and nobody is fixing it, that’s not good.
UPDATE: actually, I think it’s actually worse. If you look at the source code of the page at www.origamiproject.com, you see an HTML comment: Origami Project: the Mobile PC running Windows XP. The tone of the report on, for example, the Register hints at disappointment – ‘oh, it’s only a new XP device.’ It’s hard to imagine Microsoft putting substantial effort into adding major new functionality to an operating system it’s about to retire. This could be one big disappointment: and then all this hype generation will seem less than clever.

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