Guest Blog: Microsoft R&D and ROI

By Randy Holloway

Dave Winer points out an InfoWorld article on Microsoft’s research and development budget for this year and claims that they “spend so much on R&D;, and get so little in return.” This statement does not withstand scrutiny. In fact, it is just plain wrong. Consider a few random facts:

– Microsoft is seeing substantial gains in revenues for its software sales despite a weaker PC market. (News.com)
– Microsoft SQL Server for the first time ever has a higher market share on the Windows platform than does Oracle. (News.com)
– Microsoft has amassed $40 billion in cash. (Money Magazine)

In addition to these few items related to their continued growth in market share on a variety of fronts, revenue gains, and huge cash position, they are leading in “mindshare” with developers with the .NET initiative, their Web services initiatives, and their development tools and support. There are more users of Microsoft development tools and products than there are for any other products in the marketplace. And since most companies the size of Microsoft measure their return on investment over a period of years, its safe to say that they’ll continue to realize returns on these investments. Dave may not like the products being produced by Microsoft and may not be impressed with their technologies, but plenty of other people are and Microsoft has the market share and the cash to prove it.

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