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TheStreet Open House

Does Steve Ballmer Even Know Microsoft Makes Xbox?

Stocks in this article: MSFTAAPLSNEGE

There's no cool factor. No sex appeal. There's no association between the brand and the product ... between the brand and the user experience or the practical role the product plays in my kid's life. No link whatsoever. Clearly, that's not the case with Apple.

Xbox is Xbox. Kids think Xbox and it stops there, whereas when they think of iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple -- from the logo to Steve Jobs -- comes to mind. For goodness sake, they read about Steve Jobs in school.

I bet most adults fall into the same category; they probably don't even know Xbox is a Microsoft product.

The other day, I had a Microsoft PR person on the phone. I asked him if anybody at Microsoft ever did any market research on this. Has Microsoft commissioned a study to see if people who own an Xbox as well as those who don't actually make the connection between the two names?

I told him that if somebody has I would love to see the results. And, if the study has never been done or, worse yet, nobody ever thought to do it, he's staring one of Microsoft's biggest problems right in the face.

From day one, it must have been obvious that Xbox was a winner. Why didn't anybody at Microsoft think to create a seamless ecosystem between Windows and Xbox like Apple does with its software and hardware? Steve Ballmer hints at this in his most recent letter to shareholders, but he doesn't make a strong enough pitch in words or actions.

As Apple slowly figures out what to do in the living room -- assuming Tim Cook really has no idea how to move forward with iTV - Microsoft absolutely must move Xbox forward aggressively. Yesterday.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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