It's not uncommon these days for analysts to write off Microsoft as a has-been. The Windows Phone didn't take off, the Microsoft Surface tablet failed to impress, and the Windows 8 operating system was a flop. But that doesn't mean Microsoft can't still be innovative.
The software corporation ran an ad for Microsoft Office in the Monday edition of Forbes Magazine, and included a special treat: a free Wi-Fi hotspot.
The mid-magazine ad, first discussed on the Slickdeals bargain-hunting site, included a tiny battery and a super-thin router. Instructions told viewers how to activate the router, which offers 15 days of free wireless Internet, courtesy of T-Mobile.
According to Springwise, which promotes new business ideas, one of the consequences of the ad campaign is that Forbes Magazine became a "valuable utility," something readers would carry around -- causing them, of course, to "actually engage with the printed content." Springwise suggests this might provide an avenue for print companies looking to interest a fading readership.
But Microsoft's tiny router and battery could be used for more than just interesting advertisements. Only 3 percent of teachers of low-income students say their students have Internet at home, compared to 50 percent of teachers of higher-income students, the Washington Post reported earlier this year. And this lack of access is considered a "major challenge" in teaching poorer students, according to a Pew survey released in February. If Microsoft really wanted to make a mark, it could distribute some of the nifty new advertisements to kids in lower-income schools. Wait a few years, and it might just have some loyal subscribers to Microsoft Office.