By Ron Grattopp ronaldg-001_thumb2_thumb_thumb1_thum….Along with security, another recurring theme I like to visit from time to time is what I call the “Why Microsoft”, in other words, why should you pick Microsoft as your strategic technology choice.  I believe this is a key component of a customer-partner conversation which is another underlying theme of most of my efforts in this blog.  The matter of technology choice or preference is really a complex question that has answers on many levels but, from a strategic perspective, when you talk to your customer about betting their business on Microsoft technology, one of the key criteria you should have your customers consider is commitment to research.  There are plenty of former “best of breed” technology partners that had the leading technology solution of the day that are no longer relevant (or in some cases even around); Novell, WordPerfect, and Lotus are some examples.  In today’s computing marketplace and environment, VMWare and Apple are who many consider best-of-breed in their technology arenas, but, as I indicated, Novell and others held the same status in their day as well.   I ran across this PCWorld article the other day (which I thought was a good read so I thought I’d share), and, although I’ve made this point in past blogs on at least several occasions, it seemed like a good time to revisit what I consider is a key factor that I believe will insure Microsoft will stay relevant in the technology world and thus be the solutions you can recommend to your customers with greater confidence, even though some might say others are current best-of-breed, and that is our continuing commitment to research.  And understand, I’m not just talking about product research that everyone does, but what’s called “applied research” that looks into the future.  No other vendor that I’m aware of even comes close to the range and depth of research that Microsoft has continued to generate, and that is why you should include this differentiator in strategic solution discussions with your customers.  Again, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know that we’ve been pouring literally billions (yes, with a “B”) of dollars every year into research for quite some time; as far back as I can remember (and I’m a 15-year veteran at Microsoft).  I encourage you to read this article: Meet Microsoft, the world's best kept R&D secret.  It’s hard to tell if Matt Smith (the blog author) is new to this revelation (us being the world’s best kept R&D secret) or if he’s actually known for a while and just now feeling like it’s time to let the secret out, but that’s not important.  I like his style and hopefully some of his phraseology like “[it’s] a veritable hotbed of cutting-edge innovation” and “Indeed, the company doesn't just loosen its purse strings when it comes to research and development. No, it practically throws money at really big thinkers to build a more wondrous, fantastical future” will garner some attention and appreciation for our commitment in this area, and again, a key point being that this isn’t just research into how to make our products better, but research into what he calls “decidedly awesome projects”, which he goes on to call a few of in his post.  Again, I really hope you’ll read it, I think you’ll find it interesting AND hopefully something that you can point to help your customers understand why you recommend they invest in Microsoft technology (and, of course, you).  I’ll close with a call out from Matt’s post: “Microsoft: More innovative than you’d think…Redmond spends more on R&D than Google and Apple combined. Think about that the next time someone tells you Microsoft doesn’t have a future.

Btw, to find out even more what Microsoft Research is doing (and notice all the locations), visit their homepage at: http://research.microsoft.com

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Cheers,
Ron