Where does Microsoft expect to find its next $1 billion business?

Microsoft is looking at its appliance, cloud and big data products and services as its most likely to be added to its billion-dollar business club.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft sales execs like nice, round numbers, like $1 billion. So it's little wonder that these officials tend to look at budding businesses in terms of their potential to join Redmond's $1 billion business club.


There are already more than a dozen distinct products/services generating more than $1 billion a year in sales at the company. Those include Windows, Office, Xbox, SQL Server; System Center; Unified Communications; SharePoint; Developer Tools; Dynamics (ERP & CRM); and Online display and search advertising. SharePoint actually crossed the $2 billion a year threshold in 2012.

So where does Microsoft's sales team see the next potential billion-dollar contributors? A January 2013 job post on the Microsoft Careers site for the Sales, Marketing & Services Group (SMSG) Incubation sales team -- the group "accountable for building the next billion dollar businesses for Microsoft" -- includes these products and services on the list:

Windows Azure: Microsoft's public cloud business. (I'm kind of surprised Azure isn't in the $1 billion club yet, though maybe those persistent Linux and Windows virtual machines will help push it over the top.)
Windows Intune: Microsoft's device management/security service, which is now key to managing Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 devices
Bing Maps: Microsoft's maps, which got a lot more pricey for developers to license as of last year
StorSimple: The cloud-storage appliance vendor Microsoft bought last year
Perceptive Pixel: Those "Big-ass displays" from the PPI acquisition Microsoft made in 2012
Parallel Data Warehouse: Microsoft's parallel-processing data warehousing appliance, which integrates directly with Hadoop. (Can you say big data bonanza?)

"The WW (worldwide) Incubation team mission is to take these new business and build, accelerate, and mainstream these businesses for Microsoft," notes the job posting.

Microsoft's Server and Tools Business unit -- which is where Azure, StorSimple and Parallel Data Warehouse all live -- is becoming more and more of a launch pad for Microsoft's billion-dollar babies.

I'm curious when Office 365, Microsoft's Google Apps competitor, will become part of the billion-dollar business group.

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