Microsoft's Comment on Competitors and Industry Peers
The Windows operating system faces competition from various software products
and from alternative platforms and devices, mainly from Apple and Google. We
believe Windows competes effectively by giving customers choice, value, flexibility,
security, an easy-to-use interface, compatibility with a broad range of hardware
and software applications, including those that enable productivity, and the
largest support network for any operating system.
Competitors to the versions of Office included in D&C Licensing include
global application vendors such as Apple and Google, numerous web-based competitors,
and local application developers in Asia and Europe. Apple distributes versions
of its pre-installed application software, such as email, note taking, and calendar
products, through its PCs, tablets, and phones. Google provides a hosted messaging
and productivity suite and distributes its productivity services through the
Android and Chrome operating systems. Web-based offerings competing with individual
applications can also position themselves as alternatives to our products. We
believe our products compete effectively based on our strategy of providing
powerful, flexible, secure, and easy to use solutions that work across a variety
Windows Phone operating system faces competition from iOS, Android, and Blackberry
operating systems. Windows Phone competes based on differentiated user interface,
personalized applications, compatibility with Windows PCs and tablets, and other
Our Xbox Platform competes with console platforms from Sony and Nintendo, both
of which have a large, established base of customers. The lifecycle for gaming
and entertainment consoles averages five to ten years. Nintendo released their
latest generation console in November 2012. Sony released their latest generation
console in November 2013.
We believe the success of gaming and entertainment consoles is determined by
the availability of games for the console, providing exclusive game content
that gamers seek, the computational power and reliability of the console, and
the ability to create new experiences via online services, downloadable content,
and peripherals. In addition to Sony and Nintendo, we compete with other providers
of entertainment services through online marketplaces. We believe the Xbox Platform
is effectively positioned against competitive products and services based on
significant innovation in hardware architecture, user interface, developer tools,
online gaming and entertainment services, and continued strong exclusive content
from our own game franchises as well as other digital content offerings.
Surface devices face competition from computer, tablet, and other hardware manufacturers,
many of which are also current or potential partners and customers.
Our phones face competition primarily from Samsung and Apple, as well as many
other mobile device manufacturers. We believe our phones will compete by being
tailored for virtually every demographic and geography worldwide, offering unique
industrial design and imaging technologies at high and low ranges of price points,
and by incorporating Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences.
We face competition for our Resale products and services from various online
marketplaces, including those operated by Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Our search and display advertising business competes with Google and a wide
array of websites, social platforms like Facebook, and portals like Yahoo! that
provide content and online offerings to end users. Our success depends on our
ability to attract new users, understand intent, and match intent with relevant
content and advertiser offerings. We believe we can attract new users by continuing
to offer new and compelling products and services. We differentiate our offerings
by providing a broad selection of content that helps users make faster, informed
decisions, and take action more quickly by providing relevant search results,
expanded search services, and deeply-integrated social recommendations.
Competitors to Office 365 Consumer are the same as those discussed above for
Competitors to Studios are the same as those discussed above for our Xbox gaming
and entertainment business, as well as game studios like Electronic Arts and
Our server operating system products face competition from a wide variety of
server operating systems and applications offered by companies with a range
of market approaches. Vertically integrated computer manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard,
IBM, and Oracle offer their own versions of the Unix operating system preinstalled
on server hardware. Nearly all computer manufacturers offer server hardware
for the Linux operating system and many contribute to Linux operating system
development. The competitive position of Linux has also benefited from the large
number of compatible applications now produced by many commercial and non-commercial
software developers. A number of companies, such as Red Hat, supply versions
We compete to provide enterprise-wide computing solutions and point solutions
with numerous commercial software vendors that offer solutions and middleware
technology platforms, software applications for connectivity (both Internet
and intranet), security, hosting, database, and e-business servers. IBM and
Oracle lead a group of companies focused on the Java Platform Enterprise Edition
that compete with our enterprise-wide computing solutions. Commercial competitors
for our server applications for PC-based distributed client/server environments
include CA Technologies, IBM, and Oracle. Our web application platform software
competes with open source software such as Apache, Linux, MySQL, and PHP. In
middleware, we compete against Java middleware such as Geronimo, Wildfly, and
Our system management solutions compete with server management and server virtualization
platform providers, such as BMC, CA Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and
VMware. Our database, business intelligence, and data warehousing solutions
offerings compete with products from IBM, Oracle, SAP, and other companies.
Our products for software developers compete against offerings from Adobe, IBM,
Oracle, other companies, and open-source projects, including Eclipse (sponsored
by CA Technologies, IBM, Oracle, and SAP), PHP, and Ruby on Rails, among others.
Our embedded systems compete in a highly fragmented environment in which key
competitors include IBM, Intel, and versions of embeddable Linux from commercial
Linux vendors such as Metrowerks and MontaVista Software.
We believe our server products provide customers with advantages in performance,
total costs of ownership, and productivity by delivering superior applications,
development tools, compatibility with a broad base of hardware and software
applications, security, and manageability.
Competitors to Windows Commercial are the same as those discussed above for
Windows in the D&C Licensing segment.
Office Commercial revenue growth depends on our ability to add value to the
core product set and to continue to expand our product offerings in other areas
such as content management, enterprise search, collaboration, unified communications,
and business intelligence. Competitors to Office Commercial includes software
application vendors such as Adobe Systems, Apple, Cisco Systems, Google, IBM,
Oracle, SAP, and numerous web-based competitors as well as local application
developers in Asia and Europe. Cisco Systems is using its position in enterprise
communications equipment to grow its unified communications business. Google
provides a hosted messaging and productivity suite. Web-based offerings competing
with individual applications can also position themselves as alternatives to
our products. We believe our products compete effectively based on our strategy
of providing powerful, flexible, secure, easy to use solutions that work well
with technologies our customers already have and are available on a device or
via the cloud.
Skype competes with a variety of instant messaging, voice, and video communication
providers, ranging from start-ups to established enterprises.
Our Microsoft Dynamics products compete with vendors such as Oracle and SAP
in the market for large organizations and divisions of global enterprises. In
the market focused on providing solutions for small and mid-sized businesses,
our Microsoft Dynamics products compete with vendors such as Infor, The Sage
Group, and NetSuite. Salesforce.com’s cloud CRM offerings compete directly
with Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premises offerings.
The Enterprise Services business competes with a wide range of companies that
provide strategy and business planning, application development, and infrastructure
services, including multinational consulting firms and small niche businesses
focused on specific technologies.
Competitors to Office 365 Commercial are the same as those discussed above for
Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s online offerings primarily compete with Salesforce.com’s
on-demand CRM offerings.
Microsoft Azure faces diverse competition from companies such as Amazon, Google,
IBM, Oracle, Salesforce.com, VMware, and other open source offerings.
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