The Continued March of Microsoft
Feb 03, 2022
Dominance at the Enterprise Desktop that is Unyielding
For years, speculation over the ability of the company who created the original PC ‘disk operating system (DOS)’ to remain relevant and growth oriented in the face of new competitors and innovations has made for often-passionate debate. Those who grew up or came to love using Microsoft and their Windows desktop applications on one side – fans of Apple and Google and newer market entrants on the other.
No denying the dividing lines in the debate have often reflected generational differences. And the coffers for R&D and marketing by the companies involved to feed the fire have seemed almost bottomless. But whichever side you happen to be on, any sentiment about the demise of MS could not be further from the truth. Like so many things today, your choice of computer platform is really your own. Or that of your employer. And this latter point is quite significant, as you will read.
Microsoft was a late entrant into the cloud computing arena. They launched their Azure platform in 2010, two years after Google Cloud and four years behind the head-start Amazon had with their AWS cloud services. At the end of 2021, Azure had assumed second place with a 21% share of the global market. If you are curious, AWS continued to lead at 32%, while Google was at 8%.
Shifting to the desktop, Microsoft launched their Office 365 business communication and collaboration software suite, which included Teams, in late 2016. Using the key industry metric of Daily Active Users (DAU), the customer community exceeded 13 million users three years later. Then, as we all know, COVID turned the world upside down. And solutions such as MS Teams became the primary, if not only means of interacting with coworkers and customers alike.
To be fair, products like Zoom had advanced the video communication market dramatically, beginning in 2011, and the pandemic fueled massive product and revenue growth for them also – a 30x increase in application downloads from 2019 to 2020, and a four-fold increase in revenues. However the majority of that usage was over mobile devices, and a security scare during this time significantly hampered corporate adoption. Which brings us back to Teams. DAU reached 75 million in April 2020, 145 million one year later, and per the Microsoft earnings call last month, has now surpassed 270 million users.
Teams is a key component of Microsoft 365, and the software suite is about more than video communications. The cloud-based platform includes the traditional ‘Office’ apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), OneDrive cloud storage services, Outlook Email Client and more. Indicative of the company push into all forms of communications, Teams Phone is included, and the latest data suggests more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies, with more than 80 million users, now rely on it to conduct more than one billion calls each month!
Microsoft continues to fuel growth through constant innovation and feature enhancements. Per the Teams Roadmap from last August, the previous year saw 245 features launched, with 78 new ones in active customer roll-out and 175 more under development.
This reflects a constant effort to meet evolving enterprise customer needs across a wide range of communications and network functionality. Data shows that 124 Teams clients have more than 100,000 users. Nearly 3,000 customers have more than 10,000 users. Environments such as these are complex and demanding. IT resources are constantly dealing with upgrades, changes, disruptions, while also needing to ensure connectivity and productivity are maintained at the highest levels. Particularly in the new work-from-anywhere world.
Despite the ongoing growth, the added complexity of managing Microsoft 365 and especially Teams performance in remote and hybrid office environments has highlighted the need for greater visibility into the online experience being provided to end users. A Gartner industry status report published in the summer of 2020 predicted that by 2024, 50% of enterprises that use Office 365 will switch to a dedicated third-party solution for monitoring the Office 365 employee experience, up from less than 10% in 2020. In an EMA survey of 128 IT leaders in enterprise organizations, 81% said that Microsoft 365 is strategic or widely used across most functions of their business, yet only 10% have deployed proactive end-user monitoring.
Enter portfolio company Martello Technologies. These are exactly the pain points addressed by Vantage DX – the Martello Digital Experience Management (DEM) software created to manage Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams environments. Vantage DX provides actionable insight into the performance and user experience of all the cloud business applications and the underlying IT infrastructure.
Given the pressures IT teams have faced over the last 24-plus months, ensuring their companies continued operating, locally and remotely, in the face of the pandemic, they can be forgiven for being consumed by unprecedented priorities. But as we slowly learn to live and work with COVID, organizations should be seeking to acquire proactive infrastructure tools that ensure their performance and productivity requirements are met long term.
To learn more about Martello Technologies and Vantage DX, visit martellotech.com.
Wesley Clover invests in a range of technology companies, and they bring impressive innovation to markets and clients around the globe. I/O is our way of sharing some of the best insights. I trust you will enjoy them.
Terry Matthews, Chairman