In Brilliant Stroke, Microsoft Brings Guy Advice to iPhone/iPad

| Analysis

Microsoft announced Wednesday the release of MSN Onit for iPhone and iPad. The app, which debuted as a Windows Phone 7 app, offers what everyone is looking for from Microsoft, advice for men. Facetiousness aside, the release is a brilliant move by Microsoft that helps elevate the Windows Phone platform by association with Apple’s App Store.

Let’s look at the app first. In a blog post at MSN announcing the release, the company wrote that users will get advice and trivia, “on subjects ranging from science to history to sex. You’ll get great automotive reviews, first drives and slideshows. You’ll get tips on getting in shape, staying in shape or amping up your workout. Eat & Drink features provide you with tips on cooking the perfect steak, picking the perfect beer or navigating the restaurant menu for lean dining options. You’ll find DIY articles and guides, the best in fashion and style advice for men, and sports—the latest updates as well as a lighter look. Catch up on what you missed last night on TV or explore the realm of pop culture and sci-fi.”

Our initial reaction was to start and then quickly stop with simply making fun of the idea that somewhere there are a lot of men confused about life, wishing that they knew more about cars and drinking beer, who were secretly hoping that Microsoft could help them. “Help me Steve Ballmer, you’re my only hope.”

Help me, Steve Ballmer. You're my only hope.

While that is still on our minds, the reality is that the app is well-made. The iPad version has a great interface and lots of professional content, and the current issue has a couple of dozen girlie pics with women that are all-but-nudes. We hear a lot of guys like that sort of thing, and it’s certainly done well for FHM and Maxim. Better yet, Microsoft says new pics and articles are posted

The magazine also has apps with exercise advice, complete with a companion article on eating for muscle development, a celebrity interview, and an Internet TV show called The College Experiment. And drinking advice — there’s also an article on liquor.

MSN Onit Screenshot

Screenshot from MSN Onit for iPad.

It’s a great looking, high production value men’s magazine with a terrific iPad interface (we didn’t poke around in the iPhone version, but it seems reasonable it’s similar) that was clearly built from the ground up for a touch interface. It even pimps Bing by offering a convenient Bing search at the top of some pages.

This is what makes it such a brilliant move by Microsoft, or at least by Microsoft’s MSN unit. By releasing the app on both the Windows Phone Apps Marketplace and Apple’s App Store for iOS devices, Microsoft adds one more high profile app from the App Store that can also be found on Windows Phone 7. For Microsoft, “one more” app is hugely important at this stage of the game because the company has had a slow go of bringing developers to the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Who cares if they had to make it themselves? From a perception standpoint, it is important for Microsoft to get as much premium content from the App Store available on the Windows Phone Apps Marketplace as possible. It may even be more important than having exclusive premium content because so few people will ever know about that the exclusive content is premium if they haven’t seen it, and…well, who’s going to see it if it’s only on Windows Phone 7?

No one at this point in the race, but by creating its own premium content and putting it in both places, Microsoft can start building the perception that you can find (at least some) great content on Windows Phone 7, too.

It’s brilliant!

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15 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

I just downloaded it took a quick look, it is not too bad. Navigation could be a bit better, part that may be my unfamiliarity with the app, but it doesn’t seem consistent.

I clicked on some links to The Smoking Jacket where the pages didn’t quite work properly, though some did. I think that is The Smoking Jackets problem, not MSN Onit’s

JMP

The very last thing I want is advice, advice on any subject, from Steve Balmer, his company and his associates.

d'monder

This is like going to a whore for advice on morals.

I’ll check back when MS finally boots Ballmer and decides to lead by example.

mlanger

Am I the only woman bugged that Microsoft thinks men need a “guy’s guide to girls, cars, gadgets, fitness and life advice”?

Or maybe bugged isn’t the right word? Maybe I’m just feeling like I ought to pity men for apparently wanting content that includes girly pictures and drinking advice?

Was going to gift it to my husband, but I like to think he’s past the girly picture phase of his life and on to more meaningful things.

Surely Microsoft can do better than this.

wab95

Agreed. From a marketing and marketshare acquisition standpoint, this is brilliant; a term that’s almost become an oxymoron when used with MS of late.

Good move on their part.

ZenJ

but I like to think he?s past the girly picture phase of his life

For any man, at any age, “girly” pictures have great meaning. Don’t kid yourself.

I agree with JMP. Seeking advice from Steve Ballmer makes my blood run cold.

ZJ

Lee Dronick

As someone who has actually downloaded and browsed the app I can tell you that there is more to it than the relatively tame photos of women. Sure the images are nice, but you can find similar titillating images in women’s magazines.

Cooking recipes, home improvement tips, money matters, movie reviews,music, style, and other stuff many of us guys find interesting.

Also it isn’t Steve Ballmer or MicroSoft giving the advice. MSN just put the app together with some pages of content and links to Popular Mechanics and such.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Was going to gift it to my husband, but I like to think he?s past the girly picture phase of his life and on to more meaningful things.

He’s not.

Tiger

Bosco: Word!

maxmarch

IF YOU ARE A SUPERMODEL, your husband will take a 5 minute break from looking at other women, to look at you. HE will then look at other women again.

From the tone of your comment, your husband has probably
ALREADY
found someone who understands men, (and is fun) cause you shure dont- or your husband is secretly gay (ALL straight men look at women. ALL- those who say they dont are lying- or afraid of being beaten.

RonMacGuy

Sorry mlanger, but I have to agree with the other responses here (and it pains me to say that I even agree with Brad!!). But, it may make you feel better to realize that he is no different than just about every other heterosexual male on the planet, thanks to either (A) Millions of years of evolution, or (B) God making us this way.  Take your pick.

Brad’s even got a great example of this in the form of a certain Vice President, right Brad?

grin

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Actually, that entirely true parable was about the power of organization, not how easily distracted men’s minds are. Decent men are discreet enough with their wandering attention or just play within understood and acceptable bounds.

Lee Dronick

Sorry mlanger, but I have to agree with the other responses here (and it pains me to say that I even agree with Brad!!). But, it may make you feel better to realize that he is no different than just about every other heterosexual male on the planet, thanks to either (A) Millions of years of evolution, or (B) God making us this way.? Take your pick.

As man I admire the female figure, but I can be a gentleman about how I do it.

Hey check out the article in MSN Onit about classic muscle cars of the ‘60s!

RonMacGuy

Actually, that entirely true parable was about the power of organization

My apologies, Brad.  I was attempting to be cute by drawing a connection between man’s appreciation of the female form and your recent porn-related story.  Please disregard.

CityGuide

Decent men are discreet enough with their wandering attention or just play within understood and acceptable bounds.

Or as my Reason For Living says, “You can look at the menu all you want as long as you always eat at home.”

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