Microsoft Corporation 2012 Annual Report

Operating Segments

We operate our business in five segments: Windows & Windows Live Division, Server and Tools, Online Services Division, Microsoft Business Division, and Entertainment and Devices Division. Our segments provide management with a comprehensive financial view of our key businesses. The segments enable the alignment of strategies and objectives across the development, sales, marketing, and services organizations, and they provide a framework for timely and rational allocation of development, sales, marketing, and services resources within businesses. Additional information on our operating segments and geographic and product information is contained in Note 21 – Segment Information and Geographic Data of the Notes to Financial Statements.

Windows & Windows Live Division

Windows & Windows Live Division ("Windows Division") develops and markets PC operating systems, related software and online services, and PC hardware products. This collection of software, hardware, and services is designed to empower individuals, companies, and organizations and simplify everyday tasks through seamless operations across the user's hardware and software and efficient Web browsing. User demand for mobility is increasing; as a result, we are working to increase the number of scenarios and devices that Windows enables.

Windows Division revenue growth is largely correlated to the growth of the PC market worldwide, as approximately 75% of total Windows Division revenue comes from Windows operating system software purchased by original equipment manufacturers ("OEMs"), which they pre-install on equipment they sell. In addition to PC market volume changes, Windows revenue is impacted by:

Principal Products and Services:  Windows 7 operating system; Windows Live suite of applications and web services; and PC hardware products.

The next version of our operating system, Windows 8, will be generally available on October 26, 2012. At that time, we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.


The Windows operating system faces competition from various commercial software products and from alternative platforms and devices, mainly from Apple and Google. We believe Windows competes effectively by giving customers choice, value, flexibility, security, an easy-to-use interface, compatibility with a broad range of hardware and software applications, including those that enable productivity, and the largest support network for any operating system. Additionally, Windows 8 will run on both x86 and ARM architecture, enabling an even wider range of devices that run Windows. The Windows 8 operating system will include the Windows Store, an online application marketplace. This marketplace will benefit our developer and partner ecosystems by providing access to a large customer base and will benefit Windows users by providing centralized access to certified applications.

Windows Live software and services compete with similar software and service products from Apple, Google, Yahoo!, and a wide array of websites and portals that provide communication and sharing tools and services.

Our PC hardware products face competition from computer and other hardware manufacturers, many of which are also current or potential partners.

Server and Tools

Server and Tools develops and markets server software, software developer tools, services, and solutions that are designed to make information technology professionals and developers and their systems more productive and efficient. Server software is integrated server infrastructure and middleware designed to support software applications built on the Windows Server operating system. This includes the server platform, database, business intelligence, storage, management and operations, virtualization, service-oriented architecture platform, security and identity software. Server and Tools also builds standalone and software development lifecycle tools for software architects, developers, testers, and project managers. Server offerings can be run on-site, in a partner-hosted environment, or in a Microsoft-hosted environment.

Our cloud-based services comprise a scalable operating system with computing, storage, management, and database capabilities, from which customers can run enterprise workloads and web applications. These services also include a platform that helps developers connect applications and services in the cloud or on premise. Our goal is to enable customers to devote more resources to development and use of applications that benefit their businesses, rather than managing on-premises hardware and software. We are unique in our ability to provide customers hybrid solutions that bring together the benefits of traditional on-site offerings with cloud-based services.

Server and Tools offers a broad range of enterprise consulting and product support services ("Enterprise Services") that assist customers in developing, deploying, and managing Microsoft server and desktop solutions. In addition, Windows Embedded extends the power of Windows and the cloud to intelligent systems by delivering specialized operating systems, tools, and services. Server and Tools also provides training and certification to developers and information technology professionals for our Server and Tools, Microsoft Business Division, and Windows & Windows Live Division products and services.

Approximately 55% of Server and Tools revenue comes primarily from multi-year volume licensing agreements, approximately 25% is purchased through transactional volume licensing programs, retail packaged product and licenses sold to OEMs, and the remainder comes from Enterprise Services.

Principal Products and Services:  Windows Server operating systems; Windows Azure; Microsoft SQL Server; SQL Azure; Windows Intune; Windows Embedded; Visual Studio; Silverlight; System Center products; Microsoft Consulting Services; and Premier product support services.


Our server operating system products face competition from a wide variety of server operating systems and applications offered by companies with a range of market approaches. Vertically integrated computer manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Oracle offer their own versions of the Unix operating system preinstalled on server hardware. Nearly all computer manufacturers offer server hardware for the Linux operating system and many contribute to Linux operating system development. The competitive position of Linux has also benefited from the large number of compatible applications now produced by many commercial and non-commercial software developers. A number of companies, such as Red Hat, supply versions of Linux.

We compete to provide enterprise-wide computing solutions and point solutions with numerous commercial software vendors that offer solutions and middleware technology platforms, software applications for connectivity (both Internet and intranet), security, hosting, database, and e-business servers. IBM and Oracle lead a group of companies focused on the Java Platform Enterprise Edition that compete with our enterprise-wide computing solutions. Commercial competitors for our server applications for PC-based distributed client/server environments include CA Technologies, IBM, and Oracle. Our Web application platform software competes with open source software such as Apache, Linux, MySQL, and PHP. In middleware, we compete against Java middleware such as Geronimo, JBoss, and Spring Framework.

Our system management solutions compete with server management and server virtualization platform providers, such as BMC, CA Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and VMware. Our database, business intelligence, and data warehousing solutions offerings compete with products from IBM, Oracle, SAP, and other companies. Our products for software developers compete against offerings from Adobe, IBM, Oracle, other companies, and open-source projects, including Eclipse (sponsored by CA Technologies, IBM, Oracle, and SAP), PHP, and Ruby on Rails, among others.

Our embedded systems compete in a highly fragmented environment in which key competitors include IBM, Intel, and versions of embeddable Linux from commercial Linux vendors such as Metrowerks and MontaVista Software.

Our cloud-based services face diverse competition from companies such as Amazon, Google,, and VMware. SQL Azure specifically faces competition from IBM, Oracle, and other open source offerings. The Enterprise Services business competes with a number of diverse companies, including multinational consulting firms and small niche businesses focused on specific technologies.

We believe our server products, cloud-based services, and Enterprise Services provide customers with advantages in performance, total costs of ownership, and productivity by delivering superior applications, development tools, compatibility with a broad base of hardware and software applications, security, and manageability.

Online Services Division

Online Services Division ("OSD") develops and markets information and content designed to help people simplify tasks and make more informed decisions online, and help advertisers connect with audiences. OSD offerings include Bing, MSN, adCenter, and advertiser tools. Bing and MSN generate revenue through the sale of search and display advertising, accounting for nearly all of OSD's annual revenue. Expanding Bing beyond a standalone consumer search engine, we continue to expand our use of Bing's technology by integrating the platform into other Microsoft products, including Xbox 360 and Windows Phone, to enhance those offerings.

In December 2009, we entered into an agreement with Yahoo! to provide the exclusive algorithmic and paid search platform for Yahoo! websites worldwide. We have completed the worldwide algorithmic transition and the paid search transition in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, and several other markets, and are transitioning paid search in the remaining international markets. We believe this agreement is allowing us to improve the effectiveness and increase the relevance of our search offering through greater scale in search queries and an expanded and more competitive search and advertising marketplace.

Principal Products and Services:  Bing; MSN; adCenter; and Atlas online tools for advertisers.


OSD competes with Google and a wide array of websites and portals that provide content and online offerings to end users. Our success depends on our ability to attract new users, understand intent, and match intent with relevant content and advertiser offerings. We believe we can attract new users by continuing to offer new and compelling products and services and to further differentiate our offerings by providing a broad selection of content and by helping users make faster, more informed decisions and take action more quickly by providing relevant search results, expanded search services, and deeply-integrated social recommendations.

Microsoft Business Division

Microsoft Business Division ("MBD") offerings consist of the Microsoft Office system (comprising mainly Office, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync) and Microsoft Dynamics business solutions, which may be delivered either on premise or as a cloud-based service. The Microsoft Office system is designed to increase personal, team, and organization productivity through a range of programs, services, and software solutions and generates over 90% of MBD revenue. Growth in Office depends on our ability to add value to the core Office product set and to continue to expand our product offerings in other areas such as content management, enterprise search, collaboration, unified communications, and business intelligence. Microsoft Dynamics products provide business solutions for financial management, customer relationship management ("CRM"), supply chain management, and analytics applications for small and mid-size businesses, large organizations, and divisions of global enterprises.

Approximately 80% of MBD revenue is generated from sales to businesses, which includes Microsoft Office system revenue generated through volume licensing agreements and Microsoft Dynamics revenue. Revenue from sales to businesses generally depends upon the number of information workers in a licensed enterprise and is therefore relatively independent of the number of PCs sold in a given year. Approximately 20% of MBD revenue is derived from sales to consumers, which includes revenue from retail packaged product sales and OEM revenue. This revenue generally is affected by the level of PC shipments and by product launches.

Principal Products and Services:  Microsoft Office; Microsoft Exchange; Microsoft SharePoint; Microsoft Lync; Microsoft Office Project and Office Visio; Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Dynamics CRM; Microsoft Office 365, which is an online services offering of Microsoft Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync; and Microsoft Office Web Apps, which are the online companions to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.


Competitors to the Microsoft Office system include software application vendors such as Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Google, IBM, Oracle, SAP, and numerous Web-based competitors as well as local application developers in Asia and Europe. Apple distributes versions of its application software products with various models of its PCs and through its mobile devices. Cisco is using its position in enterprise communications equipment to grow its unified communications business. IBM has a measurable installed base with its office productivity products. Google provides a hosted messaging and productivity suite that competes with the Microsoft Office system. Web-based offerings competing with individual applications can also position themselves as alternatives to Microsoft Office system products. We believe our products compete effectively based on our strategy of providing powerful, flexible, secure, easy to use solutions that work well with technologies our customers already have and are available on a device or via the cloud.

Our Microsoft Dynamics products compete with vendors such as Oracle and SAP in the market for large organizations and divisions of global enterprises. In the market focused on providing solutions for small and mid-sized businesses, our Microsoft Dynamics products compete with vendors such as Infor and Sage. Additionally,'s on-demand CRM offerings compete directly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM's on-premise offerings.

Entertainment and Devices Division

Entertainment and Devices Division ("EDD") develops and markets products and services designed to entertain and connect people. The Xbox 360 entertainment platform, including Kinect, is designed to provide a unique variety of entertainment choices through the use of our devices, peripherals, content, and online services. Skype is designed to connect friends, family, clients, and colleagues through a variety of devices. Windows Phone is designed to bring users closer to the people, applications, and content they need, while providing unique capabilities such as Microsoft Office and Xbox LIVE. Through a strategic alliance, Windows Phone and Nokia are jointly creating new mobile products and services and extending established product and services to new markets.

Principal Products and Services:  Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment console, Kinect for Xbox 360, Xbox 360 video games, Xbox 360 accessories; Xbox LIVE; Skype; and Windows Phone.


Entertainment and devices businesses are highly competitive, characterized by rapid product life cycles, frequent introductions of new products and game titles, and the development of new technologies. The markets for our products are characterized by significant price competition, and we anticipate continued pricing pressure from our competitors. Our competitors vary in size from very small companies with limited resources to very large, diversified corporations with substantial financial and marketing resources. We compete primarily on the basis of product quality and variety, timing of product releases, and effectiveness of distribution and marketing.

Our Xbox gaming and entertainment business competes with console platforms from Nintendo and Sony, both of which have a large, established base of customers. The lifecycle for gaming and entertainment consoles averages five to 10 years. We released Xbox 360, our second generation console, in November 2005. Nintendo and Sony released new versions of their game consoles in late 2006. We believe the success of gaming and entertainment consoles is determined by the availability of games for the console, providing exclusive game content that gamers seek, the computational power and reliability of the console, and the ability to create new experiences via online services, downloadable content, and peripherals. In addition to Nintendo and Sony, our businesses compete with both Apple and Google in offering content products and services to the consumer. We believe the Xbox 360 entertainment platform is positioned well against competitive products and services based on significant innovation in hardware architecture, user interface, developer tools, online gaming and entertainment services, and continued strong exclusive content from our own game franchises as well as other digital content offerings.

Windows Phone faces competition primarily from Apple, Google, and Research In Motion. Skype competes primarily with Apple and Google, which offer a selection of instant messaging, voice, and video communication products.