Five Strategies Microsoft Got Right…And What It Teaches

Directions on Microsoft published an interesting list this week - Five Strategies Microsoft Got Right. I wont steal their thunder by adding all the details but here are the chosen 5

  1. Software Is King
  2. Outsource Your Sales Force
  3. Technology for the Masses
  4. Developers, Developers, Developers!
  5. The Long View

It’s a pretty good list. In fact it’s a very good list and I can’t think of anything I would replace in that list. Perhaps a #6 would be hiring smart people across the whole organization. That’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me is the calibre of talent.

Some of the 5 are pretty obvious but one people often overlook is #5. Microsoft does take a very very long view and invests in an incredible amount of research and diligence around those investments. Some would argue too much and that hampers nimbleness which I could agree with…but the long view is something I really admire about the company.

People will concentrate on the 5 but what is a more useful list in many ways is what it teaches according to DOMIS


  1. Lesson #1: Question the rules. Change the game.
  2. Lesson #2: Create win-win partner situations to grow fast
  3. Lesson #3: Don’t neglect your customers’ most important need: a better price
  4. Lesson #4: Make it easy for partners to customize your product.
  5. Lesson #5: Business isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Be persistent.
Comments (3)

  1. northerngeek says:

    Really great read, thank you for the link. I agree with your point of "number 6" too. I know a lot of people think Microsoft is this large somewhat evil company but your rarely see those willing to acknowledge that they were a tiny company in a sea of big fish when they arrived.

    Someday they’ll be a childrens book made about BG and MS.. ok maybe not.

  2. Don Marti says:

    Two that MSFT mostly get right and the Anything-but-MSFT crowd in the Valley mostly gets wrong:

    7. Ship it!  Software is never "done," so deal with it.  Customers prefer mostly-working to nothing.

    8. N00bs, n00bs, n00bs!  In every software market category that’s growing fast enough to matter, non-users, not the competitor’s customers, are the majority.

  3. Vlad Mazek says:

    I agree with the list, but I disagree with the title.

    "Five things Microsoft used to get right…"

    #2 Outsource Your Sales Force – this was one of the amazing Microsoft moves and one I’ve modeled for my company. However, in the past 24 months Microsoft made a LOT of mistakes, alienated a lot of it’s partner base and will suffer as a result of it. First, Microsoft started directly competing with it’s partners on services – particularly those in the Microsoft Dynamics segment. The number of people who have stopped offering CRM because Microsoft went direct to the lead and undercut them is amazing. Then they tried to marginalize their developers through the "App Store" like model for CRM online. Earlier this summer Microsoft angered it’s infrastructure partner force by deciding to become a hosting company, something that has very small VARs weary of Microsoft and much larger infrastructure companies like mine seeking, marketing and deploying competitive products to Microsoft’s established platforms.

    I guess the lesson to learn here is don’t piss off your sales force that has an established marketing and customer relationship.

    #4 Microsoft did this right on a number of fronts. First on the free tools, then on the free forums and portals like, channel 9, now codeplex, etc. It’s easy to start writing software for the Microsoft platform. But, Microsoft failed to stay a software company and became far ambitious, going after every company that had a reasonably large market share and defacto control (think Adobe, think Oracle, think standards like PDF) so the willingness of programmers to develop on a Microsoft platform takes a huge hit. Why should I focus on developing for the platform with overzealous company that is known to play dirty?

    This opened up the arena for AWS, Java, Linux, Flex and even you’ve noticed that everywhere you go people develop against Microsoft, not for Microsoft. Now you know why. And guess what the universities are teaching on 😉

    I guess the lesson to learn on this one is that you have to play nice if you want to have friends.

    I like your list as well though, right on.


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