What perhaps differentiates Microsoft from many

Microsoft Corporation: A Research Undertaking

Since its origin in 1975 by carbon monoxide laminitiss Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft Corporation have steadily and quickly go one of the world’s most successful companies, with trade names amongst the most planetary. It now commands a place among the top worldwide corporations, ranking figure three in the FT Global 500 [ 1 ] while basking grosss in surplus of $ 36bn [ 2 ] .

This essay seeks to supply an overview and history of the company, while set abouting a compendious analysis of its concern successes. The grounds for this success of the company shall be explored, and the chances for continued future prosperity will besides be assessed.

Introduction and History

Microsoft, a public US company trading portions on the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York, is active globally, with offices in over 70 states [ 3 ] . For an overview on Microsoft figures, see Appendix A. Originally set up to do operating systems for the Altair 8800 system, the company has since produced industry benchmarks in the market, foremost with MS-DOS in the 1980s, and with Windows in the 1990s [ 4 ] .

By ruling this market with a close entire monopoly on the world’s place and concern Personal computers, it was in a place to develop package applications to complement and back up its merchandise scope. The most successful illustrations of these include Microsoft Office, a clasp of desktop publication applications, and more late the online integrated programmes and services of MSN.

Microsoft and their Markets

Harmonizing to their web site, Microsoft slackly define their three nucleus markets as:

  • Business
  • Entertainment
  • Platform Products & A ; Servicess

The development and subsequent strength of the trade name has revolved around specialized selling to each of its mark audiences. Fill ( 2002 ) identifies the company’s overall selling scheme as taking “…a extremist new attack to the demands of the market and interrupt off from the manner in which trade names in the sector are usually perceived” . Although Microsoft’s nucleus markets now appear to be in adulthood, [ 5 ] it ab initio sought to construct presence in these markets via distinguishable merchandise positioning which set it apart from its rivals. The scheme is obviously a success, as applications such as Office and Internet Explorer quickly became benchmarks.

Microsoft’s web site offers a good indicant of how the company really clearly segments its markets. Business, for case, is split into countries covering all facets of industry ( instruction, finance, retail etc. ) while place markets concentrate on instruction, amusement and public-service corporation sections.

Within its concern market, Microsoft offers “integrated applications tailored to specific industries” . It aims to cover all concern engineering needs over two distinguishable countries: concern solutions such as supply concatenation direction and client relationship direction, Windows Server System, covering web and hardware direction.

On a more micro degree, the company purpose to orient its services to clients via its Certified Partners strategy. Using a world-wide web of regional concern units and single professionals, it can be certain that its clients are having service from people who know the industry or are more familiar with local concern issues. Functions performed in this respect include what its website refers to as “add-in merchandises to construct on…standard functionality to run into industry-specific and company-specific needs” . Such individualized service is something frequently found missing in big transnational administrations that frequently use a “one size tantrums all” attack to whole districts. The company’s contact with its clients extends every bit far as single preparation and enfranchisement on how to utilize its package.

Using this multi-functional attack to concern solutions, the company is able to often interact with its concern markets, assisting consumers to believe the company is marketing straight to their single demands. East ( 1997 ) highlights the importance of keeping in lasting markets ( i.e. one off or long permanent purchases ) . He argues that the cost of losing clients in such markets are high as setting-up costs frequently include higher operating expenses associated with the purchase. Microsoft appears to hold been really successful in retaining its clients, due in portion to convenience or the overall high cost of exchanging. It can be assumed that the interaction the company appears to hold with clients creates a reinforcement consequence, which will increase a customer’s leaning to stay loyal to the company in future purchases, defined by East ( 1997 ) as “learned reinforcement” .

Using a combination of strategic partnerships with Personal computer makers, as identified in their 2004 one-year study, proactive selling and the schemes discussed below, Microsoft has managed to construct and keep a close complete monopoly in its nucleus markets.

Understanding and selling to the mark audience

Harmonizing to their web site, Microsoft Corporation would specify their concern place as “…the world-wide leader in package, services and solutions that help people and concerns realize their full potential.” The company’s success in accommodating to altering market conditions and demands represents possibly one of the cardinal grounds for their continued success. In add-on, it is their ability to work its strengths which help it to keep its place, a point which will be explored in greater item subsequently in this essay. The company, with huge sums of financess available to explicate the sorts of incorporate planetary selling runs historically observed ( over $ 8.3bn [ 6 ] spent globally on selling activity in 2004 ) , has however attempted to understand its market from a corporate degree in many ways.

Committedness to Online Development

By puting the development of its applications into “Web-based services for endeavors and consumers” ( Hoover 2005 ) at the head of its merchandise development scheme, Microsoft is showing its perceptual experience that the Internet is and will go on to be of import to its consumers. In add-on, it has attempted to incorporate its Hotmail electronic mail programme into a more far making MSN passport system, and relied on on-line functionality for the success of its games consoles. Davenport ( 1997 ) acknowledged that the company identified as far back as 1997 that they “…needed to encompass the Internet and integrate it into virtually all merchandises and services” . Whether or non such a scheme will go on to turn out successful remains to be seen, but success should be assisted by Microsoft’s original online vision and the experience it has gained since so.

Microsoft’s Corporate Strategy: Organic Growth & A ; Acquisitions

During its life-time, Microsoft has pursued an aggressive policy of take-overs and acquisitions. Via this scheme, Microsoft has shown that it is ready to accommodate rapidly to market conditions in order to appeal to its consumers. The company has carried out over 50 acquisitions in the last 10 old ages [ 7 ] . One of legion illustrations of this includes the 1999 purchase of Hotmail, the world’s most popular free electronic mail service, and reflected Microsoft’s sound belief in the strategic demand to present high quality free electronic mail services to its clients in the face of strong competition from other free electronic mail suppliers ( Yahoo! , Lycos etc. ) . In add-on, Microsoft has shown that it is prepared to buy companies who could better their overall merchandise quality. Prior to the launch of its Xbox games console, the company embarked on a scheme to procure sole rights to exceed rated games, including the purchase of developer Bungie, Godhead of the popular game Halo.

The attack has allowed the company to get competences it may hold lacked if it had followed a scheme of internal development, and allowed it to convey high quality merchandises to market within a comparatively short timeframe.

Concurrently, Microsoft has strongly pursued a policy of internal development, puting a high degree of accent on research and development. The company province in their 2004 one-year study that the construct of “integrated innovation” was cardinal to their scheme, which aims to present “even greater value to customers” . Hence, Microsoft has invested a great trade in merchandise and service development ( over $ 7bn in 2004 [ 8 ] ) . The company’s willingness ( something which may or non hold been enforced upon them for legal grounds ) to let 3rd party companies to “complement” their merchandises demonstrates an development in scheme. Such a scheme would look to be complimentary to their competency of modeling other company’s merchandises to suit their ain merchandise end product as observed in the high figure of acquisitions that have taken topographic point. Hence, this type of “integrated innovation” would look to see Microsoft playing to their strengths when presenting merchandises to their markets.

A Workforce that Understands Technology Markets

Harmonizing to Davenport ( 1997 ) , Microsoft has built up a repute for using extremely skilled persons who understand the concern and the industry. It is argued that, in making so, the company’s operations are able to better adapt to the industry and the ascertained alterations in markets. The company’s selling activity, for illustration, must be able to pass on how the company is endeavoring to run into the altering demands of the consumer. Highly skilled workers, hence, will assist the company to develop and implement schemes successfully as needed.

Such a trust on extremely knowing staff in which merchandise development occurs in analogue to understanding what the client requires may be one of the chief factors in keeping its place. With a selling section that understands the engineering market and anticipates its alterations, the company is able to retain its image as engineering and merchandise pioneers.

The above has summarised many of the ways in which Microsoft has sought to appeal to its assorted mark audiences. Detecting the company’s competitory place may besides assist to place the decisive factors set uping future continued success.

Swot: An Analysis of Microsoft

For a full lineation of identified strengths, failings, chances and menaces to the company, see Appendix B. Some of the cardinal issues confronting Microsoft as it aims to keep past successes include the undermentioned.


In the yesteryear, Microsoft has been highly successful in developing new merchandises by advancing, or bundling, them with bing trade names. The Windows operating system is possibly the best illustration of this, where applications such as Internet Explorer and Media Player have become industry benchmarks due to their “out of the box” handiness. By working the monopoly power it has on Personal computer operating package, it is in a place to act upon the success of strategic countries of future public presentation. In an industry where the battlefield for future laterality in the engineering industry is likely to be sharply fought, as companies progressively move towards entirely incorporate media devices, the strategic advantage of such a agencies can non be overstated.

Legal Lawsuits

Due to an ascertained monopoly Microsoft enjoys in the place Personal computer market, it could be considered inevitable that rivals will seek to sabotage or decrease this power though legal agencies. It is, nevertheless, stated in Microsoft’s 2004 one-year study that “major progress” has been made to stem legal action and better dealingss with authoritiess. However, the menace of cases remains one of the greatest menaces to Microsoft’s current monopoly of its market place.

Current illustrations:

  • Recent payment to RealNetworks, Inc. ( $ 361 million ) [ 9 ]
  • Recent Novell colony

Emerging Online Trade names

The outgrowth of online planetary trade name has led to strong competition, peculiarly within the media market, a developing Microsoft market harmonizing to Hoover ( 2005 ) . Google and others are progressively conveying a greater scope of merchandises to the market, many of which straight compete with Microsoft’s ain merchandise portfolios.

What possibly differentiates Microsoft from many of its more traditional rivals such as IBM is its globalised nature. Anholt ( 2000 ) , as cited by Fill ( 2002 ) suggests that by utilizing engineering in topographic point of more traditional physical distribution channels Microsoft was able to contradict the inefficiencies associated with the latter. Upcoming on-line trade names, on the other manus, do non endure the same traditional barriers, and may in clip create better conditions to vie efficaciously with Microsoft.


As the engineering market evolves, it could be speculated that the successful companies within the industry will be the 1s that are able to outdo suit the altering demands of consumers. If the approaching tendency towards technological integrating of media merchandises predicted by Microsoft and others does happen, the company is apparently good placed to make this.

The many analysed strengths of Microsoft detailed in this essay look to be peculiarly pertinent to the development of the market’s needs. The company appears to hold sanely accepted the function of incorporating viing merchandises within its ain merchandises, which may in future aid it in keeping its place from a legal position. Adaptability in the market topographic point, as it has been in the past, may turn out to be decisive as competition from Google and other on-line trade names strengthens.

Appendix A

Microsoft Overview [ 10 ]

Company Name: Microsoft Corporation

Current Chief executive officer: Steven A. Ballmer

Company Headquarters:1 Microsoft Way

Redmond, Washington State, USA

Shares listed on: Nasdaq ( USA )

Current Share monetary value $ 28.07

( as at 18/11/05 )

Year high $ 28.00

Year low $ 23.82

2004 Gross saless Revenue $ 36.835bn

( Year ended June 30, 2004 )

2004 Net Income $ 8.168bn

( Year ended June 30, 2004 )

Appendix B

SWOT Analysis


Existing market place

Strength of trade name

Finance available ( $ 60bn+ )

Network of Microsoft Certified Partners


Maturing markets

Lack in credibleness compared with some rivals



Partnerships & A ; confederations with Personal computer manufacturers

Observed market alterations


Antimonopoly legal instances from challengers

Menace from upcoming on-line trade names

Unauthorised/illegal trade in pirated goods


East, R. ( 1997 ) , “Consumer Behaviour: Progresss and Applications in Marketing” FT Prentice Hall, UK

Fill, C. ( 2002 ) , “Marketing Communicationss: Contexts, Strategies and Applications ( 3rd Ed. ) ” , FT Prentice Hall, UK

Davenport, T.H. ( 1997 ) “Knowledge Management at Microsoft” ,

Web: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.mccombs.utexas.edu/kman/microsoft.htm # manage1

Internet Beginnings on Company Information:

Microsoft Website

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.microsoft.com

Business Cleavage

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.microsoft.com/business/default.mspx

Legal Press Release

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/0ct05/10-27Q1EarnPR.mspx

Computer Hope Microsoft Company Report

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.computerhope.com/comp/msoft.htm

Yokel! Finance Microsoft Company Report

hypertext transfer protocol: //finance.yahoo.com/q/pr? s=msft

Nasdaq Company Financials

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.nasdaq.com

Hoover Online Report Builder: Microsoft Corporation

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.hoovers.com/free/tools/report/builder/form.xhtml? ID=14120

Wikipedia Encyclopedia

hypertext transfer protocol: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft

*Microsoft 2004 Annual Report obtained from hypertext transfer protocol: //www.nasdaq.com