Re: Microsoft burning party
- From: JE McGimpsey <jemcgimpsey@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 14:02:29 -0600
In article <BEDADD0A.84BA%craig.deutsch@xxxxxxx>,
Craig Deutsch <craig.deutsch@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> Oh, boy! I love it when MVPs and others start getting passive aggressive
> with newsgroup posters.
Hmmm...I don't like it so much when posters start out their posts
building a disparaging straw man...
> Easy. Because Microsoft is huge. It has endless resources.
MacBU is about 160 people, including secretaries and marketing folks.
They, like any other division, live and die by sales of their products.
It doesn't matter *what* the rest of the company does: if a division
doesn't make money, it doesn't get funded, unless there's a strategic
reason for MS to do so. You say yourself that the market share is small,
so why would you expect MS to invest huge resources in it? MS isn't a
benign charity, it's a profit making company which is responsible to its
shareholders to maximize their return on investment.
If MacBU no longer can justify the investment required, the business
will be sold or restructured, or closed, no matter how "endless" the
resources. IE is a perfect example - it was discontinued when it was no
longer able to drive sales of other products, and was no longer paid for
> And it has a marketing and development budget that trump the GDP of
> some small countries.
Completely irrelevant. Development and marketing funding follow sales
projections. MS doesn't have a pot of cash sitting around that anyone
and their brother can dip into. Like any other public for-profit
company, MS is responsible to its shareholders for efficiently
reinvesting its profits into development. And if it projects that it can
expect to sell $X worth of Mac product, you can be sure that the
development money available to MacBU will be some fraction of $X.
> With the exception of Virtual PC (which Microsoft bought from another
> company), I wouldn't call ANY of those products unique to the Mac
VPC isn't unique to the Mac platform. AFAIK, sales of WinVPC exceed
sales of MacVPC.
> In short, it has few excuses that are valid in my book.
>From a business perspective, what excuses would be valid?
> Why does Entourage have so many problems relative to its big sister
> in the Windows world? In my view, it's simple...skeptical perhaps,
> but nonetheless incredibly simple: It's *supposed* to be that way.
> It's a *business decision*. It's a matter of choosing which problems
> to solve, which features to implement, and just how good to make a
> product bearing in mind that its sister, Outlook, shouldn't be
> trumped, for such might imply something not-so-pretty for both
> Outlook and, God forbid, Windows. Besides, the Mac market is only
> about 3% of share, and what percentage of those people will use
> Entourage over Apple Mail anyway?
Your arguments are somewhat contradictory. If the Entourage market is so
small, why would MS be worried about its implications for Outlook?
Wouldn't it make more sense to use Entourage as a prototyping platform,
a testbed of ideas for Outlook? Mac XL has had charting features that
run rings around WinXL for years - I don't think the WinXL dev team
loses any sleep over it.
One problem is that Outlook isn't Entourage's "sister" - they're at
best distant cousins, with a different code base and entirely different
>From an MS perspective, what does it matter if an Entourage feature
outshines Outlook? Are you saying that they're worried that someone's
going to say "gee, look at that great feature in Entourage...that's so
much better than Outlook that I'm going to switch to Macs - and use
Apple Mail!"?? Doesn't make sense to me.
There's no incentive for MacBU to cripple Entourage for the sake of
Outlook. To do so cuts their own throat - if Entourage, along with the
rest of the Office suite, isn't compelling enough for Mac owners to
purchase, their jobs are forfeit, just like anyone else in business.
They have a powerful incentive to make all their software the best they
can within the constraints of their market.
I also have a hard time seeing how MS loses if Entourage becomes
compelling enough to convert Windows users to Mac users. They'll still
get their tribute in sales of MacOffice, at a necessarily higher profit
margin than WinOffice. Where they *should* be concerned is in making
sure that switchers don't go to a non-MS Office solution.
I generally detest the Windows side of MS as much as the next Mac user,
but I'm also a businessman, and I can understand and appreciate MS's
investment strategy. Sure, I'd think that BG (or rather SB) throwing a
billion or so MacBU's way would be terrific, but I don't expect MS to do
things any differently than any other company. And were I a shareholder,
I'd be jumping up and down about management malfeasance as fast as any
OTOH, conspiracy theories *are* fun, and a lot more entertaining to
indulge in than the mundane reality of operating a business.
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