Saturday, September 10, 2022

Now we just had a look at how Google built a tech empire with $250 billion in revenue where they gave away their product for free. Now Microsoft built their $168 billion empire by making people pay for it. It all started with an operating system called MSDosc that was the first operating system created for the IBM PC in 1980. This was beginning of the paid software model that has transformed the industry and spawn countless new ecosystems for the desktop PC. Microsoft got $40 for their software on each unit.
In those days computers were $700 and used a floppy disc drive storage and was only in the reach of business users. I remember working on one at JWT in 1986 and there was only one for the whole media department. (During this time email and smartphones did not exist, fax was the way people communicated digitally)

 IBM PC Circa 1980 with a dot matrix printer


During these days office software was Lotus 123 for spreadsheets, Harvard Graphics for presentation software and Word Perfect for word processing. There was even a drawing program called Corel, a Canadian company. Through acquisition Microsoft created Office 365 (Launched in 1990) and leveraged their operating system as a competitive advantage during its marketing. Through the years Microsoft, used textbook predator capitalist strategies and acquired an interest in over 350 companies to fend off rivals and buy hot growth high tech companies. Microsoft is now one of the biggest gaming publishers through this strategy.

High Profile Acquisitions

Email: Hotmail/Outlook: 1997 ($500M) - 400 M users

Video Chat: SKYPE: 2011 ($8.5B) - 200 M users

Mobile Phones: Nokia Mobile Phones: 2013 ($7.2B)

Gaming: Mojang (Minecraft): 2014 (42.5B)

Social Media: Linkedin: 2016 ($26.2B) (830M users)

Gaming: Activision Blizzard: 2021 ($68.7B)

Today the Windows OS is on close to 70% of computers in Canada and it's primarily in the business market where companies like HP and Lenovo provide the latest hardware. The company produces a wide range of consumer and enterprise software for desktops, laptops, tablets and servers. The ubiquitous Office 365 is the business software of choice for office applications even though Google docs is gaining ground as the free choice. Students can get a license for Office 365 for free though. 

 Microsoft offers free services like email, video chat and social so you don't have to pay for everyting

Microsoft is the Biggest Gaming Publisher in the World.

The video game industry is another child of the Microsoft ecosystem and all the best games were written for Windows machines. This is a $37B market in the USA. There are 23 game developers and some of the best sellers of all time are Minecraft, Halo, Gears of War that are now owned by Microsoft. Global video game revenue was  $179.7 billion in 2020, according to IDC data, making the video game industry a bigger moneymaker than the global movie and North American sports industries combined. 

HP has a line of consumer computers just for gamers to cater to this market called Omen, these are high performance computers with CPUs clocking in 3GHZ or up with graphics cards. In this world response time is key, as things as keyboard and mouse lag response times may be the difference in winning and losing.

 HP has a consumer line for gamers called the OMEN


The Computer Hacker is Born as a new Life form

As with all ecosystems new life like bacteria was spawned as cyber criminals became a new art form and they targeted Windows users. New terms like malware, viruses, phishing and computer hi-jacking became everyday cyber threats and security software was born.
Microsoft's market dominance also spawned the growth of the Open Source Movement as Linux a free to use operating system that was invented in 1991 by  Linus Torvalds got widespread use and offered better security that Windows. This OS was used primarily for servers and data centers like the New York Stock exchange and NASA. I got to see this first hand as I worked with the Linux Journal during the Dot Com boom and knew all the players.

The Surface Hardware Line is Microsoft’s Signature Statement

As with all good capitalists, sometimes they will eat their own with their venture into hardware with the Surface line, even though they are partners with all the major computer companies in the world. The Surface line today from its humble beginnings as an OS for their first smartphone when they bought Nokia in 2013.
The Surface line today can be best described as their signature statement of their commitment in creating high quality leading edge products. The Surface line is not just a tablet anymore, it has ultra thin laptops that come with a 13 inch screen and a desktop (Studio 2) all in one with a 28 inch touch screen. They are still playing around with smartphones as they have unveiled a two screen model (Duo), that looks pretty cool and uses the Android OS.

 The Surface line are high quality builds doesigned to compete against Apple. You get chek out the Microsft Surface Line at your local Best Buy Store


Microsoft’s Carbon Free Strategy

Microsoft is planning to be Carbon free by 2030 to meet the Global 2050 goal of a carbon fee society. They have over 200 data centers worldwide and are being powered in part by wind and solar farms. Microsoft has a virtual tour of the data centre that you can check out. CLICK HERE


The identity of Microsoft can get a little confusing as they have their hands in many pies like business software, hardware (games consoles, tablets and phones), publishing (MSN News) and video game publishers. This is all built on their ubiquitous Windows OS that is now on version 11 and businesses run on Windows and will forever be a core part of the digital infrastructure in Canada.

About Me
Martin Seto

Martin Seto is the producer of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAS) with 30 years of life expereince in technology, advertising, media and creative exploration. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at) or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

Most Recent Blog Comment
Lorene Shyba says:
Full of terrific information, Thanks!...
Blog Archive
2024 (2)
2023 (3)
2022 (3)
2021 (1)
2020 (3)
2019 (2)
2018 (6)
2017 (13)
2016 (14)
2015 (12)
2014 (12)
2013 (12)
2012 (12)
2011 (12)
2010 (8)