CLARITY: Microsoft is a marketing company

Posted on November 23, 2007. Filed under: Clarity, Microsoft |

Not wanting to be too much of ‘well duh’ post, but I thought it was worth reminding ourselves that in software we need to be focusing extensively on marketing and sales. It all too easy to get caught up in the development, to the detriment of the marketing.

I’ve (finally) finished ‘Partnering with Microsoft‘ by Ted Dinsmore and Edward O’Connor. It’s a little dry, and can get repetitive, but overall it is a useful analysis of how Microsoft Partners should approach their relationships with Microsoft and other partners. In the process, the book details how Microsoft organises itself.

The following quote is worth reflecting on in light of your own software company:

Of the total employee base, 23,200 (42%) are dedicated to research and development, which includes product development; 25,100 (46%) are engaged in sales, marketing and support; 4,300 (8%) are assigned to finance and administration; and 2,400 (4%) work in manufacturing and distribution.

(p37, based on Microsoft organisation details in 2005)

So, to be clear, Microsoft has more people working in sales, marketing & support than they do developing the actual products. The inclusion of support in the 46% is distorting, and ideally I’d like to know how many just in sales and marketing. My guess is that the bulk is in sales & marketing. But even so the message is clear.

Now, I’m not saying that Microsoft’s model should be your model, but if you find you have heaps of developers and no marketing resources, then perhaps there’s food for thought.

How to Make Money in Trusted Partnership with the Global Software Powerhouse

(btw – I’m linking to the book on my Amazon store page – I get a commission from every sale – which I use solely to help cover costs I incur running SBTUG)

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