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Microsoft's fiscal 2010 battle cry: Growing our share

It might seem ironic for a company that has cornered more than 90 percent market share in both desktop operating systems and office suites to be focused on growing its share. But that's how Microsoft officials are identifying their mission for fiscal 2010, which began for Microsoft on July 1.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on

It might seem ironic for a company that has cornered more than 90 percent market share in both desktop operating systems and office suites to be focused on growing its share.

But that's how Microsoft officials are identifying their mission for fiscal 2010, which began for Microsoft on July 1. At the company's global sales meeting, known as MGX, the week of July 20, Microsoft's top brass is hoping to whip the sales troops into a share-growth frenzy.

Microsoft's reseller partners got a taste of some of the sales priorities for the company during Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner's keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference on July 15.  Microsoft is taking the gloves off, Turner wanted to make clear.

"We've got lots of competitors. We've got great competitors. They're out there every single day trying to take our market share," Turner told the resellers on Wednesday. "But you know what? We've got incredible products and solutions. And in each case, they're built on that high-value, low-cost proposition with partners."

Turner listed the companies Microsoft is most focused on taking share from in the coming year. They are:

  • Oracle (with SQL Server 2008 R2)
  • Google (with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 on the Google Apps front and Bing on search)
  • VMWare (with Hyper-V/Windows Server 2008 R2)
  • Lotus (with Exchange 2010)
  • OpenOffice (with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010)
  • Apple (with Windows 7)

(I found it interesting who Turner failed to mention when talking up Microsoft's competition. Amazon sure has a hefty head start in the rent-a-cloud space. Mozilla is sure coming on strong against Internet Explorer. Apple has Microsoft on the run in the mobile OS market. Red Hat and other Linux distributors still have a lot of mind share in key parts of the server space -- in spite of Turner's claim that Microsoft has competed really well agains "the fraudulent perception of free.")

Turner's message to partners in many of these cases was the competitive offerings may carry higher margins, but they are a lot more expensive than what Microsoft has. It sounds like the Softies, buoyed by the reception its Laptop Hunter ads received, is going to try a similar sales/marketing tact with SQL Server, Hyper-V and other products by touting their higher cost vis-a-vis Microsoft's offerings.

(Speaking of the Laptop Hunters ad campaign, am I the only one who thinks Microsoft's obsession with Apple has gone around the bend? Apple has less five-plus percent of the desktop operating system market, and, according to IDC, is now down to No. 5 among U.S. PC vendors. The majority of consumers I know who are looking to buy a new PC are either in the Windows or Mac camp when they go out to make a purchase. But Microsoft is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Apple-focused ads and retail stores which will be located next door to Apple's temples for the faithful. Why?)

Anyway, back to "Grow our share." I guess "Save our share" wouldn't have the same ring to it. But I wonder whether Microsoft's arrows are missing some key targets and are focused too much on competitors from the past. What's your take: Are the Softies back in fighting form or just tilting at windmills?

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