Social, it's in Microsoft's DNA

By Rich Blank posted 10-26-2011 20:21


Anyone who's looked at Microsoft’s business model will begin to realize that Microsoft understands "social" better than anyone.  The economics of Microsoft's ecosystem add up for everyone involved where everyone in the community shares the economic benefits.  In fact, social has been in Microsoft's business model and DNA for 3 decades.  Recent case in point is SharePoint's explosive growth.  SharePoint’s success and widespread adoption demonstrates the power of community, innovation within the community, and the economic benefit shared by all --- including partners, integrators, suppliers, customers.

In early October, I had the opportunity to attend the SharePoint Conference and attended a presentation from Microsoft that had some incredible numbers about SharePoint success that rival any consumer focused technology.   

  • 125+million licenses sold
  • 20000 users added daily
  • 93000+ partners
  • 65000+ customers. 

I also remember another stat that came out of Microsoft around the time SharePoint 2010 was released.  There was one estimate that SharePoint's ecosystem generated a figure anywhere from $6 to $9 for partners and SIs for every $1 spent on SharePoint licenses.  So if $2 Billion is earned each year by Microsoft from SharePoint that puts the total figure for SharePoint related revenue conservatively at $14 Billion globally.

How accurate are these numbers?  It's hard to speculate yet they seem reasonable.   Indeed there is some multiplying factor for the entire community involved in SharePoint as a whole.  As I stated earlier, the economics add up for everyone involved where everyone in the ecosystem makes money.   Of course the real benefit is for the technology vendor as they gain widespread market share and sell more products or licenses.  

Of course there are other examples of successful ecosystems including Apple who has become the most valuable technology company today.  While Apple will surely continue to innovate, you have to wonder if Apple’s controlling nature and closed ecosystem are  sustainable. Apple’s “anti-social” behavior in the 80’s wasn’t successful in the PC market.  However, Apple seems to have a quasi-social ecosystem with shared economic benefits in place for the foreseeable future.  One might argue that if Apple wants to sustain their dominance, they need to evolve into a more social business with economics of shared monetization that benefit all and are not perceived as one sided.   On the flipside when the vendor fails to innovate and ignores the ecosystem that helped make the vendor successful, the economics no longer add up with shared wealth…and the whole ecosystem crumbles.  A great example where the ecosystem is failing is RIMM.  RIMM simply failed to innovate and ignored their community.   RIMM got market share but forgot who and what helped generate that wealth, and became an “anti-social” business.  

The lesson here is that in the technology world, a vendor’s sustainable success is not whether or not they make a better mousetrap.   Success is based on the economics of the community ecosystem they build, the social nature of their behaviors, and the innovation created within the community itself.   As long as innovation occurs within the ecosystem (by the vendor or partners) and the vendor cultivates these communities and ensures economic benefit as a whole, everyone wins including the customer.   SharePoint (and Microsoft) are simply great examples of social business in its purest form before anyone heard of or hyped the word “social”.  Simple and social economics add-up for everyone and are a big reason for SharePoint’s success and why Microsoft continues to be relevant today.  

#SharePoint #sharepoint #social #SocialBusiness #microsoft