Microsoft execs make their 'One Microsoft' pitch to Wall Street

Microsoft execs are continuing to drill home the message that Microsoft needs to be in consumer and enterprise, as well as hardware plus devices. Do you buy it?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft management has said they believe the company needs to be a player in not just devices and services -- but also both consumer and enterprise -- to continue to grow.


Some of Microsoft's investors aren't onboard with that belief. (See ValueAct, Microsoft's next likely board member.) They think Microsoft should stick to its enterprise strengths. 

At Microsoft's Financial Analyst Meeting (FAM) -- its pow-wow for Wall Street analysts -- Microsoft execs attempted to drive home the company's "One Microsoft" view and the reasons for it.

Microsoft officials showed the slide embededed above in this post during FAM that showed just how strong Microsoft is in the enterprise. The Softies claimed 55 percent of Microsoft's current customer base is enterprise, compared to 20 that is consumer. Small business is a surprisingly low (but growing) 6 percent. That said, execs also showed another slide that indicated that Microsoft generated $15 billion in sales of consumer services (which included sales of its Office 365 Home Premium subscription service) in its fiscal 2013. (Microsoft officials said they now have two million Office 365 Home Premium subscribers, up from 1 million in May 2013.)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told FAM attendees that from a profitability perspective, "we will be led by our work in enterprise services and devices." But he added that Microsoft is aware that consumer services are important to the customer and "they're a path to enterprise services."

Consumer services are "a path to device success," Ballmer said. "But in some senses, we will lead as we go to market and we will certainly lead in terms of how we hope to generate profit through devices and through enterprise services."

"The one thing that is actually toughest understanding how to make money as consumer service company," Ballmer acknowledged. "Google does it. They have this incredible amazing dare I say monopoly that we're the only person left on the planet trying to compete with. Other than that, most of the consumer services companies just don't make enough profit to really register at this scale." (He did note Facebook might be one of the next to figure it out.)

Ballmer showed this Microsoft chart to emphasize that the company is competing with both consumer and enterprise companies, and competing well:


Terry Myerson, the Executive Vice President of Microsoft's new OS division, noted during a FAM panel discussion that Windows is both a consumer and an enterprise product.

"There's so much of our effort, the windows we build is used on the client, used in the cloud, used in data centers. Having that diversity is essential to delivering Windows' franchise," he told FAM attendees.

There is a "graduation process" between consumer and enterprise, said Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President of Enterprise and Cloud, also speaking on the FAM engineering panel.

"Yammer has taught us a lot and you'll see that in a lot of the product design. This is (neither) an enterprise product or a consumer product. (This) is not the way we're going to approach these things."

My ZDNet colleague Larry Dignan has the charts showing how Microsoft intends to break out its financial reporting segments, post-reorg. The five new segments largely align around consumer/enterprise lines, Dignan noted. While consumer and enterprise may be symbiotic, Dignan argued, they aren't unified. 

What do you think, Microsoft watchers?

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