Microsoft's mistake? Bad marketing, says exec

Companies doing business online fear competition from Microsoft because the giant software company has failed to reassure them through a successful public relations campaign, according to Anthony Bay, Microsoft's general manager for Internet services business unit, said today.

"We get accused of being good marketers. I think we are a bad marketing company," said Bay, speaking at the Forrester Forum, "Push your Business Beyond the Web," held here today.

But speaking about Microsoft's possible move into e-commerce as an online retailer, Bay neither confirmed nor denied those intentions directly.

"We've managed through our bad execution to make everyone think we are going into their business. There's a very real fear and loathing," of Microsoft's move into e-commerce, said Bay.

"Our primary strategy is to help customers implement commerce, rather than doing the commerce ourselves," said Bay. He denied that services such as Microsoft Investor and Expedia, an online travel service of Microsoft, were e-commerce concerns.

"We've already started to change our business practices, but you won't find that makes us any less of a competitor," he said.

"It's very painful when you go home and your son asks - 'Daddy, why is the government suing Microsoft?' " he said.