Microsoft and the Business Consumer market

image I have been watching and working in the Microsoft space for many years. I remember when Windows 95 was launched and I remember when I was told we needed to support the new operating system called Windows NT back in the mid-1990’s. I also remember the Internet Tidal Wave memo from Bill Gates.

Microsoft may not always lead the way, but Microsoft has pretty much always stayed in the race. However, Microsoft is very good at CHANGING the GAME by Tilting the Tables. That’s what I see happening again in the Tablet and Phablet space.

Microsoft has been sitting back and waiting (probably not on purpose, but this could be a stroke of genius master strategy). While they have been waiting they have arguably missed the consumer side of the market. So, in true Microsoft fashion they are tilting the tables and re-defining a new market segment. This is a segment I’ve taken to calling The Business Consumer.

The Business Consumer Market

SNAGHTML20afe98Microsoft is targeting a segment of the market that seems to be relatively untapped today. The Business Consumer market is HUGE. Conservatively it’s the 1 Billion or so Microsoft Office users today. And this doesn’t factor in all the “borrowed” copies floating around. The Business Consumer market also encapsulates the 2-3 Billion current and future Business Consumers in India, China and the growing market in Africa.

The Business Consumer market is a bit of a cross between the BYOD market and the Use What You Are Given (UWYAG) market. Where the BYOD market has been heavily influenced by iPhone’s, iPad’s and the multitudinous offerings from the ever growing Android market. And the Use What You are Given market is filled with the people that don’t have the money or desire to buy their own devices AND then use them for work. So, the UWYAG market uses the PC’s and other technologies they are given by the company to do the work they were hired to do.

In contrast to the BYOD market the Business Consumer market is focused on providing just the right tools to do the job. Minus (most of) the extraneous fluffy stuff the BYOD market introduces (see concessions below).

This is not to be confused with the ProSumer market or the traditional consumer market.

I think Microsoft is going after it completely different market. The market they seem to be going after is one that does not require a lot of apps. Rather it's a market that goes after just the apps that you need. The Apps for business, the Apps for productivity and the Apps for getting it done.

Where Apps achieve Bill Gates’ vision of … Any Place, Any Device, Any Time … for the Business User. Aka, the Business Consumer.

Microsoft Has Tilted the Tables

Microsoft is playing a different game. Microsoft’s game is more focused on winning the long term business battle. I don't think Microsoft cares nearly as much as a lot of people ascribe to them about the app market – specifically the consumer app market. However Microsoft definitely does want to win in the consumer game, BUT as a business play.

Microsoft has effectively conceded the Consumer App space

image Microsoft will need to make concessions to win The Business Consumer market. People have gotten used to the BYOD mentality of using iPads and Android devices to be able to watch movies, play games and perhaps more importantly to do things in an offline mode.

Thinking points:

  • Microsoft is buying Nokia’s phone division. The new Nokia 2520 looks to be a solid entrant in the Phablet space.
  • Dell and other vendors are starting to build devices running Windows 8
    • I personally have a Dell Venue 8 Pro and I really like it.
    • I also have a Microsoft Surface RT (I used to have a Pro too).
  • Microsoft’s latest commercials seem to be catering the the CIO and the IT team
  • Microsoft is targeting App Developers

"The reality of multi-device, multi-screen experiences is reshaping how developers think, build and monetise apps for consumption across the world," Microsoft Corporate Vice President and Chief Evangelist Steve Guggenheimer (link)

This is not a slam on Microsoft. If anything this is a validation of their delayed “strategy” to create and go after The Business Consumer market. Will it work in the end? That remains to be seen. I’m willing to bet Microsoft will be successful … again. Perhaps this is just another case of just waiting for Version 3.

What do you think?

  • Is Microsoft just too late to the game?
  • Is there really a Business Consumer market to corner?
  • Do you expect your company will provide tools and technologies that will help you do anything EXCEPT the work you were hired to do?

Drop a note in the comments or reach out via any of the Social Media channels below.


Jeff is a expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He is an international speaker and writer on the Intersection of People and Process in Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing. He is a contributing author to Elite Daily and to the Personal Branding Blog. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax, Kodak and Winshuttle. Currently he is the Director of Strategic Alliances and Gimmal.

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Natalie Tijan said…
memo from Bill Gates. Microsoft may not always lead the way, but Microsoft has pretty much always stayed in the race

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