Microsoft Aust/NZ now a US$1.19b company

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Microsoft’s Australia and New Zealand operation contributed around US$1.19 billion, or three percent, of the software giant’s global sales revenue of US$39.79 billion for the financial year ending 30 June 2005.

Microsoft’s Australia and New Zealand operation contributed around US$1.19 billion, or three percent, of the software giant’s global sales revenue of US$39.79 billion for the financial year ending 30 June 2005.

Speaking at Microsoft’s annual partner conference at Coolum, Queensland, Gary Cox, general manager of sales at Microsoft Australia, told 700 attendees that sales revenue growth in Aust/NZ was 5 percent on the year earlier. “We should all feel good and be proud of that result,” he said.

Globally, sales grew 8 percent over the 2004 financial year, Microsoft said in a results announcement on 21 July.

Sales generated by the Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) division -- which markets products like Axapta, Navision, Great Plains and CRM software -- grew 22 percent in FY05 on the year earlier, Cox said. “This business could grow substantially more than 20 percent per year,” he said. Microsoft’s services and tools business in Aust/NZ also grew 17 percent, he said.

Cox told partners that there was a “massive opportunity to move Lotus Notes customers to Exchange, while touching on the impact of open source and Linux on the company over the past few years".

“There are many opportunities out there that we lose because we didn’t know about them. I hate that -- we do not like to lose,” he said.

Linux had been “the bain of our existence for the last few years,” he said. “But let’s be clear, it’s a strong technology."

He also admitted that Microsoft had “struggled to decide how it effectively competed” against the popular Blackberry mobile device manufactured by Research In Motion (RIM).

Google would also be an “interesting and successful competitor” to Microsoft, but the software giant would build search engines that are competitive with the Google offering.

Meanwhile, the company announced four new “competencies” to its Australian partner program and a Small Business Specialist program.

The first, a “Custom Development Solutions” competency recognised partners that developed custom software tailored to each specific customer requirement.

The second, a “Licensing Solutions” competency, was targeted at partners that specialise in complex licensing and software asset management rollouts. The third “Mobility Solutions” competency was designed for partners that develop applications based on Microsoft’s mobile platform.

Kerstin Baxter, partner group director at Microsoft Australia, said the company previously did not have an authorisation process for licensing, which is complex.

The fourth “OEM Hardware Solutions” competency groups partners that build hardware pre-installed with Microsoft software and those that develop or manufacture hardware devices.

The new Small Business Specialist program groups partners that are selling to companies with 50 employees or less. To qualify as a small business specialist, partners must pass two exams. The first exam -- the Small Business Sales and Marketing Skills Assessment -- measures knowledge of the small business market.

The second was a technical exam on products such as Small Business Server and the Windows client for System Builders, Microsoft said.

“It gives customers a brand where they can recognise that these partners specialise in their needs,” Baxter said.

Byron Connolly travelled to Coolum as a guest of Microsoft Australia.

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