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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Is It Time to Take $8 Billion Out of Microsoft's Pockets

Tim Bray of Sun recently posted Office Profits and Politics which discusses the obscene amount of money Microsoft extracts from Office lock in. Mr Bray relates that he often tells journalists that market share is part of this story:

"..., but we think that our interests, and the customers’, are both best-served when there’s no file-format lock-in and there’s a wide-open competitive market.”

Mr Bray then gets into the dollars and cents perspective:

"But indeed, there is a dollars-and-cents business dimension. And to help broaden the knowledge of those dollars and cents, I went and checked Microsoft’s Investor Relations page to look up the Office-related numbers. In the fiscal year that ended July 1st, they reported profit of $7.915B on $11.013B in revenue. The trend continu*es: in the most recent quarter (ending last September), it was $1.934B on $2.675B. Just FYI."

It's safe to say that Microsoft's $8 billion dollar a year cash drain from the Office products is not serving the interests of other businesses and consumers. We can finally start to do something about it by encouraging the use of Open Document Formats wherever we have any influence.