Microsoft wants to start a bromance

The new MSN Onit app for Windows Phone 7 offers tips to guys in need of manly advice.

Geeks, pay attention here. Those of you who feel like your dudeliness, your man-mojo, your virility isn't up to snuff, Microsoft wants to help. The software giant launched a new app for its Windows Phone 7 called Onit, described as a "guy's guide to girls, cars, gadgets, fitness, and life advice--plus a touch of humor." Because, after all, who better to turn to for advice for help with "the ladies" than Microsoft.

MSN Onit screenshot Microsoft

The free app promises to curate men's lifestyle content from magazines and Web sites. Onit, as in "Bro, we are so on it," plans to offer auto reviews, workout tips, sports highlights, and fashion advice. The folks at the Windows Phone 7 app-watching site marketplacebrowser.com, using what appears to be Microsoft-written marketing copy, gush that "MSN Onit brings you a weekly dose of beautiful women, financial tips, the gadgets you need, the technology you lust after, and local news."

Clearly, Microsoft wants to tap the 18-34-year-old male demographic, a lucrative market if ever there was one for mobile advertising. That's why, in addition to all the Maxim-like offerings, the app will also promote local activities for guys to hit, presumably as they trawl for action. And Onit will also offer tips for picking beers. (Who knew that was a such a challenge?) Those suggestions could lure restaurant advertisers.

Just as Microsoft is playing catch-up with the iPhone with its Windows Phone 7, so too is it coming from behind with men's lifestyle apps. The iTunes store already offers apps such as iGentleman, a self-proclaimed men's style guide, and The Men's Book, which describes itself as "the ultimate resource for the stylish, affluent man."

Whether or not men will turn to Microsoft to sort out their dude-needs remains to be seen. Then again, if you're even thinking about downloading the app, chances are, it couldn't hurt.

About the author

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).

 

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