Competitive and Regulatory Strategy Reviews; Focus, Microsoft Windows, Vista
Challenge: The Company and its flagship product, Microsoft Windows, underwent intense regulatory review and numerous competitive challenges prior to release. The company formed a small task force of legal, business strategy analysts, and technical resources focused on negating regulatory and competitive threats. Obtaining sign off from regulators without significant impact to product design and release schedule was not a given.
Action: Member of specialized, corporate level team that worked across divisions reviewing proposed strategies, identifying gaps, recommending solutions, and driving change that ensured alignment with key objectives.
Results: After going through one of, if not the most intensive regulatory reviews in history and overcoming numerous competitive challenges, Windows Vista shipped with minimal design change and timely sign – off by U.S. and European regulators. Based on IDC economic impact studies prior to and the Company’s Annual Report one year after release, the impact of delaying Windows Vista was defined as follows:
- Company: $1.4 billion in revenue per month. $16.8 billion, (28%) of 2008’s $60.4 billion in annual revenues.
- Domestic Economy: $10 billion dollars and 250,000 jobs per month. $120 billion dollars, 3 million jobs in 2008
- Protected Loss of Market Share: Apple/Linux were gaining share. Windows Vista shipped 15 million units per month and 180 million units in the first fiscal year after release, restoring growth to the Windows family of products.
- Protected Potential Revenue Loss: Windows Server 2008 shared the same code base as Windows Vista. Regulatory holds on Vista could have impacted Server 08 and many of thecompany’s billion dollar product lines that relied on it; all slated to launch within months of Sever 08. Potential for additional loss; $850 million per month.
- New Antitrust Sanctions: Because of these actions, a minimum of $1 billion in new antitrust fines were avoided.
Competitive Intelligence Informing Corporate and Legal Strategy
Challenge: The Company did not have a way of capturing company-wide data on outreach to key independent software vendors (ISVs) jointly identified by Microsoft and the DOJ to demonstrate compliance with the company's Consent Decree with the U.S. government. Additionally, the company needed comprehensive data to counter refusal to deal claims by competitors and avoid new antitrust cases. Action: Personally tasked with full accountability for identifying, capturing, and summarizing companys outreach for reporting to executive management, legal, the Court, and the DOJ. Developed relationships with 65 teams, spanning multiple divisions that provided outreach within the company which included executive calendars and communications. Negotiated initial and ongoing process for capture and ongoing data collection from disparate data sources, designed the database for storage and reporting, and provided single page reports used with executive management. Developed successful relationships with these key vendors to insure product development issues identified were resolved quickly, and closed by issuing a formal report from Microsoft, copied to the DOJ. Results: Data was used by Microsoft's C.E.O. and legal department to successfully address complaints raised by competitors, consortium's, and regulators.
- Savings to the company estimated at $1 billion dollars in antitrust sanctions for each claim resolved; estimated six. Further, a successful claim could have easily led to delays in product launch quantified above.