Microsoft Says It's Winning

Apparently fed up with taking a constant drubbing from the media and tech pundits, Microsoft's chief spin doctor talks up the software giant's successes.


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Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president for corporate communications, must be having a frustrating month.

With so many questions from the press about areas where Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) seems to be faltering, Shaw recently published a post for the Official Microsoft Blog that aimed to set the record straight – at least from the software giant's viewpoint.

In his post, which he titled "Microsoft by the numbers," Shaw seemed to be taking a snarky shot at competitors and media who, no matter how well Microsoft executes, refuse to give the company any respect.

But he started diplomatically with a mention of last week's announcement that Microsoft has so far sold some 150 million Windows 7 licenses since the October 22 launch. That averages out to seven copies a second.

"As a communications guy, I'm generally most comfortable with words. But since Microsoft is a pretty numbers-driven company, the Windows 7 milestone got me thinking about some other numbers, too," Shaw's post said.

After the Windows 7 sales recap, Shaw followed up with another set of numbers.

He said there are 355 million PCs forecast to be sold in 2010 and most will include Windows 7. That compares to 58 million netbooks and 7.1 million iPads. His clear intent is to show how dominant Microsoft really is (after all, almost all of those new netbooks -- Shaw says 96 percent -- will also come with Windows 7 pre-installed).

So even as the media beats Microsoft up for missing out on the slate PC trend, that market represents less than half of one percent of all PCs that will be sold this year, most of them running Windows. (Never mind that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates showed off a prototype slate or tablet PC prototype years ahead of the iPad, but failed to capitalize – that's another story).

Shaw followed up with some numbers regarding Microsoft's cloud computing initiative. In November, no one was paying to use Microsoft's new Azure cloud platform. By June, five months after the company started charging for usage, paid customers on Azure were up to 10,000.

However, then he includes a number that only vaguely has anything to do with Azure. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced a deal with the Kentucky Department of Education to provide 700,000 students, faculty, and administrators in the state with e-mail, instant messaging, and online storage running on the software giant's cloud services.

While that's a large number of seats, though, the price is attractive -- all of those services are free. Additionally, the service, dubbed Live@edu, runs in the cloud but not on Azure.

From there, Shaw touted other numerical milestones, though the relation to competitors wasn't always clear.

For instance, Shaw cited the combined circulations of the 25 largest U.S. newspapers (16 million), the number of people who use Netflix (14 million), and compared them to 23 million Xbox Live subscribers, without explaining what online gamers have to do with newspapers or films.

Shaw also cites 21.4 million "new Bing users" in the year that it's been available, but does not mention that its 10.8 percent market share, as calculated by comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR), is still small compared to 66.4 percent for Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) search engine.

In terms of e-mail accounts, he cited Microsoft's Live Hotmail service as having 360 million users compared to 173 million Google Gmail accounts, and 284 million Yahoo Mail accounts – a clear win for Microsoft.

Perhaps the quirkiest number Shaw included, however, was a swipe at cloud competitor Salesforce.com:

"100% -- Percent chance that Salesforce.com CEO [Marc Benioff] will mention Microsoft in a speech, panel, interview, or blog post."

Microsoft is currently locked in a patent infringement suit and countersuit with Salesforce.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: cloud computing, Microsoft, Azure, Windows 7, Bing

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