>Microsoft and Enterprise Architecture

>Microsoft—with 79,000 employees in 102 countries and global annual revenue of $51.12 billion as of 2007—is the company every consumer loves and hates.

On one hand, Microsoft’s products have transformed the way we use the computer (yeah, I know Apple got there first, but it’s the Microsoft products that we actually use day-to-day). Everything from the Microsoft operating system, office suite, web browser, media player, and so on has made computers understandable, and useable by millions, if not billions of people around the world. The positive impact (excluding the security flaws and pricing) has drastically made our lives better!

On the other hand, Microsoft is a “near-monopoly” with estimated 90%+ market share for Office and Windows O/S. Near-monopolies, like Microsoft are feared to stifle competition, reduce innovation and consumer choice, and drive up prices.

Microsoft has been convicted by the European Commission of having “improperly bundled a media player with its Windows operating system and denied competitors information needed to make their computers work with Microsoft software…fines and penalties could reach…$2.77 billion. “EU officials praised the decision…for protecting consumers.” While “Microsoft backers said, the ruling will stifle innovation by making it tougher to design products with new features.” Additionally, “the EU is reviewing complaints about Microsoft’s Office Software and concerns over how Microsoft bundled encryption and other features in its new Vista operating system.” (Wall Street Journal, 18 September 2007)

From a User-centric EA perspective, there is a similar love-hate relationship with Microsoft. As architects, we believe and preach standardization, consolidation, interoperability, and integration—all things that Microsoft’s array of products help us achieve ‘relatively’ easily (imagine, if instead of an integrated Office Suite, as well as mail, calendar, task list, and underlying operating system, we had to use an array of non-integrated products-yikes!). However, also as architects, we look to be able acquire innovative technology solutions for our organizations that will help us achieve superior mission performance, and to acquire products at prices that produce the best value for the enterprise—to achieve that we need a marketplace based on healthy competition that drives innovation and price competition.

So we love and need Microsoft, but we fear and loathe the ramifications of such market dominance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s