Mary-Jo Foley recently wrote a blog post about being better together. At Microsoft this is something we take seriously. In her blog post she includes some snippets of an interview with Donald Famer. Donald discussed how we exchanged some team members with the Excel team in order to have a great integration story. Anyone in management knows how important people are and will understand that moving people between teams is serious business.

So why do we do this? We do it because it creates the greatest value for our customers. Creating seamless experiences between products – built on open APIs - ensures customers get the greatest benefit out of their investments. it also means that end users (information workers as we like to call them) end up with the most natural level of interaction with the products without having to think much about it.

I’ll offer one proof point: I was recently talking with a friend of mine who’s at a large packaged food company. Mind you he’s in sales not in IT so he offers more of a business rather than technology perspective. They just started a pilot of SharePoint, Excel and PowerPivot. He couldn’t agree more with the value of better together. They initially started out looking at nonMicrosoft products and quickly realized the cost of employees learning another tool which didn’t naturally integrate into their daily route or with other tools would be too disruptive and costly to the business. This really hit home for me that the price on the box is only a small part of the overall equation. The productivity of your employees is far more important.