Haven’t mentioned that “the product is the brand is the product” for about five minutes…

So I’m working with the excellent Outlook add-on Xobni, when I’m noticing the tips section of the Xobni side-bar telling me that Outlook might be not shutting down properly because of Skype.

Huh?!
So I press the link and I learn, interestingly, that Outlook may be not shutting down properly because of Skype, or some versions of Google Desktop, and so on. I also learn that Xobni is making great efforts not to mess with the Outlook.exe process. My guess is that Xobni are getting complaints and probably uninstalls for bugs which are not their fault. Unfair.

This is an interesting branding situation. Who will the average user suspect? Skype? Google? Microsoft? or the relatively new and anonymous brand Xobni?

How likely are the users who just recently installed the massive Office SP2 update pack to still think “this Xobni thingy is messing up my Outlook”? I’m sure the Xobni team sees the irony, but doesn’t enjoy it…

And what can a small start-up do to build and maintain its own reputation in such a technology brand salad situation? (Not including selling out to Microsoft and consolidating the brand under Outlook)

 

(Funnily, I immediately suspect Microsoft, even though Outlook has been a central and loved tool for me for years, but that’s a different branding story…)
(Funnily = as long as you don’t work for Microsoft’s marketing)