Magazine article Marketing

This Week

Magazine article Marketing

This Week

Article excerpt

- BlackBerry tablet price cuts

BlackBerry's PlayBook tablet has been the subject of heavy discounting by electronics retailers keen to shift stock following disappointing sales of the device, writes Matt Chapman.

The Carphone Warehouse reduced the price of the 16GB model by almost 60%, to pounds 169, while Currys and PC World cut pounds 230 off the price of the 64GB model.

BlackBerry-owner Research in Motion stood by its PlayBook range, claiming regular promotions on the device and an impending much-delayed software update 'will help generate increased demand and sell-through in the coming months'.

Shipments of PlayBook dropped by 50,000 in the most recent quarter, compared with the previous three months.

- Google's Chrome faux pas

Google was embroiled in controversy last week when it was found to be flouting its own webmaster rules over a sponsored blog campaign for its Chrome browser, writes Sarah Shearman.

The issue arose after video distributor Unruly, on behalf of Google's digital media agency, Essence, paid bloggers to promote the Chrome ad campaign and one of them added a link to the product.

Not wanting to risk further embarrassment, Google took action and penalised Chrome in its PageRank for 60 days, saying it should be held to a 'higher standard' than other companies. It also pointed the finger at Essence and issued an apology, saying that it did not authorise the action.

While the other companies involved have accepted responsibility, this is a blow to Google. It has been running a major marketing push for Chrome in the past year, but having it lower in search rankings will make it trickier for consumers to seek out the browser.

- Supermarkets in January war

The New Year brought no let-up in the supermarket price wars, with the 'big four' battling hard to entice customers with January promotions.

Morrisons continued its strategy of offering giveaways, in an attempt to foster loyalty and stand out from the value-led campaigns of its rivals The chain has started offering 15,000 customers per week the cost of their shopping back as part of its 'Win Free Shopping This January' campaign.

Sainsbury's and Asda went head-to-head with major discounting on electrical goods, as the brands looked to continue their aggressive expansion into non-food sectors.

Meanwhile, Tesco refreshed its pounds 500m Big Price Drop initiative last week with a 'New Year's Price Drop' ad campaign.

- Comet vs Microsoft in court row

Comet is facing a legal battle with Microsoft in the UK courts, after the latter launched proceedings against Comet for allegedly selling counterfeit Windows software. The row centres on accusations that Comet created more than 94,000 recovery CDs for Windows Vista and Windows XP, before selling them to customers who had purchased PCs and laptops pre-loaded with Windows from its stores.

Microsoft last week claimed the alleged actions were 'unfair to customers' and stated it 'expects better from retailers of Microsoft products'. Comet argued that its actions did not infringe intellectual property, and highlighted Microsoft's decision to 'stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft-operating-system-based computer'.

The news will not affect Kesa Electrical's sale of Comet to private equity firm OpCapita, as full disclosure of the court proceedings was provided during negotiations.

- Virgin Atlantic chief departs

Paul Dickinson, director of sales and marketing at Virgin Atlantic, is to leave his position after 10 years at the airline, as reported online by Marketing last week, writes Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith.

Dickinson, who has also held senior marketing roles at the RAC, Granada and Visa International, revealed he will be joining Christie's auction house in the newly created role of international managing director for client services. …

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