Consumers and Enterprise: every customer is a consumer

The other day I read something that made me think: “Microsoft earnings report show the future of the company: Enterprises first, consumers last.”

“… the way to the enterprise often first goes through consumers. But more and more, Microsoft will be a company dependent on sales to big businesses, not consumers”

Certainly we also understand acutely that there’s strong growth and strong momentum in our enterprise business.  I don’t think anyone at the company denies that, nor the success in our online, services and entertainment businesses.

But at the heart of the discussion, every customer is a consumer.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discussed this (really, I can’t, due to my NDA 😉 in my work on customer and partner satisfaction. With a nod to the article above, customers in the enterprise space are certainly influenced by their consumer experiences. (Heck, I’ve also blogged openly about my own experiences as a customer here, here and here).

Mary Jo Foley wrote in 2010 how Microsoft had “established its reputation as an enterprise software/services vendor. It’s trying to be a consumer one, too, and is spending money on retail ads, brick-and-mortar stores and viral marketing campaigns to try to gain more mind share there.”

I think she might note that today, we are a consumer company by virtue of our efforts and offerings in PCs with Windows 7, Windows Phone, Windows Live, Office, Xbox and more. All in addition to our new products like Surface, Windows 8 and now Office 2013, which illustrate how the company provides both strong platforms along with great software and services for consumers and enterprises. And certainly consumer experiences influence other decisions. Our competitors understand this, and our customers understand this. And I believe we understand this as well.

Our Enterprise team in their post earlier this month on mobile and the future entertainment about the concerted effort to help entertainment content and experiences “travel seamlessly across devices and that those devices should work together.” Groups working across many groups in Microsoft to develop and create new and innovative experiences across various consumer screens and smart devices (like TVs, Phones, PCs and Surfaces), for both consumer, enterprises, and the blurred line we see in BYOD and COIT.

In Frank Shaw’s post this week on Binary Diffusion, he writes…

“We don’t discount the challenges – the strength of our competitors, the rise of mobile computing, questions around the company’s ability to sustain growth when PC sales are slow – and I’m sure there are a few more others might add. :)”

I think I’d add we are a consumer company. Heck, Microsoft is one of the top brands period, just as I read here and read today on techvibes.

(Full disclosure: I wrote this the other night but only posted it today as I wanted to include a link)

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