Microsoft's Strategy for Small Businesses (B): Marketing MS Office Live

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG168
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 2005-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Microsoft Corporation
Industry : Computers and Information Technology
Countries : Europe, USA

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"Small businesses are the most technologically underserved segment of the market, and we believe that Microsoft software has a lot to offer to them. Companies with 10 or less employees typically lack in-house technical resources or a dedicated IT budget. Office Live can bring them all the productivity and efficiency benefits of our software that larger organizations tend to have."1

- Rajesh Jha, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Office Live, in 2006.

"We are absolutely making a strategic push to small business. We are looking for new and innovative ways to reach the target audiences."2

- Michael Schultz, US Business and Marketing lead for Microsoft Office Live, in 2006.

"Especially delivering it [online services and applications] to the customer at essentially no cost is significant. Microsoft and Google and other companies will continue to deliver these kinds of functions. They all do have longer-term aspirations."3

- Michael Gartenberg, Jupiter Research4 Analyst, in 2006.

Getting Behind Small Businesses

In December 2006, Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft), the world's largest software company, launched an online ad campaign to support the launch of its Internet-based services package, Microsoft Office Live (Office Live). Office Live which had been in the beta5 test phase since February 15, 2006, was finally launched in the market on November 15, 2006. With the launch of Office Live, Microsoft targeted small businesses that hardly used any software in their business operations. With Office Live, small businesses could establish a presence on the Internet and also market their business online. Microsoft was providing the entry-level software, Office Live Basics for free, while two other versions were available on a subscription basis.

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

The promotional ad for Office Live was created with Rovion Inc.'s6 InPerson technology, which had, of late, attracted many online publishers and advertisers. This technology enabled the client to show video images of people who looked as if they were directly interacting with the website's visitor.

The image was without any borders (as was typical of other video ads) and seemed to seamlessly integrate with the contents of the Web page. The ad was aired on websites frequented by the target audience.

Michael Schultz (Schultz), US Business and Marketing Lead for Office Live, said, "We're always searching for new ways to explain how easy and affordable Microsoft Office Live is for small businesses. By using Rovion technology, we'll be able to target customers in a more engaging way about how they can use Office Live to attract new customers and generate repeat business by establishing a professional Web presence."7

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1] "Q&A: Microsoft Office Live Works Round the Clock to Meet Small Business Needs," www.microsoft.com, October 31, 2006.

2] Matthew G Nelson, "Microsoft Tries New Ways to Reach Small Business," www.clikz.com, December 19, 2006.

3] Kevin Fogarty, "Channel Doubts Microsoft's Offer of Office Live as a Source of Resale Revenue," www.searchnetworkingchannel.techtarget.com, November 16, 2006.

4] Jupiter Research is a division of US-based JupiterKagan, Inc. It is a global provider of original information, images and digital content for information technology, business and creative professionals.

5] A beta is an application or service that is being tested in a real-world environment by regular users.

6] Rovion, Inc., is a privately-held technology company based in Owings Mills, Maryland, USA.

7] "Rovion to Support the Launch of Microsoft Office Live," www.biz.yahoo.com, December 13, 2006.

 

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