Obama Praises Twitter, Google & Facebook — But Not Microsoft’s Xbox

Does today’s speech from President Barack Obama to school children across the United States need any more controversy? Having listened to it, I personally can’t see many parents objecting. But I could see one tech company not happy: Microsoft. Competitors like Google got called out as “good” things to aspire to while a Microsoft’s Xbox was something he suggested should be turned off.

From his prepared remarks, which should be pretty close to the exact speech he delivered: Microsoft gets the bad news early:

I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

Turn that Xbox off! OK, perhaps some of the time. And you could argue that Microsoft is getting some Obama love here. It’s an Xbox he’s mentioning, not a Sony PlayStation or a Nintendo Wii.

Still, Microsoft probably would have preferred to have the love that Apple got later on in the speech:

Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine.

No one’s putting the Xbox along with accomplishments like saving lives!

There’s more love for Google, as well as Twitter and Facebook:

Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.

Google, Facebook and Twitter alongside landing on the moon, fighting a world war or civil rights. Communication changes, true — though made possible by underlying infrastructure changes, that of the internet, not to mention the telephone system itself.

I also found it remarkable that of six brand mentions in total that I spotted (did I miss more?), five of those were tech oriented (the remaining one was the Harry Potter books).

See also related discussion on Techmeme.

Postscript: Video of Obama’s speech is now up on YouTube:

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Facebook | Features: Analysis | Google: Marketing | Microsoft: Marketing | Search & Society: General | Twitter


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.siftable.com jamesgreen

    In fairness, he did just say don’t play XBox all day. He didn’t say don’t spend time playing XBox or anything like this. On a negative brand messaging spectrum this is a 1 or 2 with 10 being the worst.

  • tophtucker

    I noticed this too when I was reading the transcript… although, however carefully-prepared this speech might have been, I think we should refrain from drawing *too* many sweeping conclusions from such a small sample.

    Note that in the associated Q&A panel, Obama warned kids about what they were posting on Facebook, and held Bill Gates up as a role model (without even mentioning his philanthropic work).


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