18 October 2007

Microsoft : Master of All It Surveys

I love Microsoft-sponsored surveys - not for what they purport to tell us, but for what they indicate Microsoft cares about. Here's another one:

In the IT industry, Microsoft and its "ecosystem" of parters are big--on the order of 40 percent of the market. And if any policy makers around the world doubted its influence, it now has the data to prove it.

The software giant commissioned research company IDC to survey 82 countries and measure the economic impact of the IT industry, and Microsoft specifically.

Overall, the results were not surprising, according to Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. IT contributes to economic growth and job growth more than other industries, according to the IDC study.

The study managed to quantify the Microsoft business universe. There are about 14 million people working at companies that touch Microsoft software in some way, either as hardware distributors, services companies, or software developers.

That number represents about 42 percent of the overall IT market, according to the data. Mundie expects that number to stay consistent in the coming years.

The point is obviously to show how jolly important Microsoft is to all those economies, and how governments had better not fiddle with the delicate ecosystem. But of course what this necessarily overlooks is the huge value of the open source ecosystem - difficult to quantify using traditional economics - not least because open source saves people money, whereas Microsoft's ecosystem costs money. This means it looks smaller when it is simply leaner.

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