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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rebranding failures: MicroPro

Remember MicroPro? In the 1980s, and even at the beginning of the 1990s, MicroPro made leading word processing software product, WordStar. The program was even heralded as ‘one of the greatest single software efforts in the history of computing’ by the widely respected technology expert, John C Dvorak.

Because of the popularity of the WordStar product, MicroPro rebranded themselves WordStar International. This move proved to be a major mistake.

‘The new brand identity proved immediately self-limiting,’ explains advertising copywriter John Kuraoka, in a white paper on branding. ‘As WordStar International, the company was poorly positioned to keep up with changes in the computer industry – such as the rise of integrated software bundles that were the predecessors to today’s Microsoft Office. Note that Microsoft never became ‘Windows International’.’ The WordStar name had quickly become an albatross around the company’s neck. Between 1988 and 1993 the company struggled to find new ways to continue selling variations of the WordStar product. The rise of competitors such as Word Perfect and, later, Microsoft Word, led to WordStar’s corresponding and rapid decline.

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