Clare Barclay, Head of Small Business (UK) Microsoft on Open Source

Reaching small business is one of the HUGE keys to Microsoft’s growth. If it can’t continue to make inroads into the small business market it will not grow. Selling to enterprises is still a must of course, but small – medium sized businesses are where massive growth will come from. Fortunately for Microsoft they are one of the LEADING companies in reaching small businesses.
Windows, Office, Small Business Server – are leading applications in their field. The other applications such as Sharepoint, OfficeLive, Small Business Accounting, OneCare (Microsoft’s security solution) and more are going to be contenders to lead or be ONE OF the leaders in their space.
Clare Barclay, Head of Small Business for Microsoft was interview by the ITWales Interview. [I don’t think Clare is heading Microsoft small business overall – that’s Cindy Bates as far as I know. I suspect Clare heads Microsoft’s UK small business marketing] writes Why should small businesses invest in Microsoft Office when open source alternatives are available which could meet 90% of users requirements?
Small businesses choose Microsoft Office because it delivers superior business advantages, helping them to be more productive whilst also lowering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). All Microsoft products are engineered to be familiar, easy-to-use, support a broad choice of applications, and with a special emphasis on security, reliability and consistent interoperability. Microsoft Office is no different.
Specific benefits of Microsoft Office for small businesses include the following:
* Cost: Because Microsoft products are familiar and easier to use, customers can reduce costs required to maintain day-to-day operations and free up investment for innovations that drive new business value.
* Security: Microsoft products are consistently engineered to conform to rigorous security and reliability standards and when breaches occur, the Software Update Service immediately issues patches to help ensure your business is protected.
* Reliability: Microsoft systems are easy to configure and maintain, predictable as requirements evolve, allowing end users to access the resources they need in a timely manner.
* Indemnification: The software you use today often relies on intellectual property that has many different owners. In some cases, property disputes can place a software user at risk. Microsoft protects individuals and companies from the costs associated with these types of disputes by offering strong intellectual property protection.
Bill Gates recently commented that Open Office is 10 years behind Microsoft Office. How do you think the products compare?
The key differentiator, of course, is the maturity of Microsoft Office as a solution. This means that not only is the software highly-developed, but businesses can also take advantage of added benefits including a widespread customer support network. This is a particular consideration for smaller businesses, which often lack in-house IT expertise.
Whilst choosing open source might sound like a great idea in theory, it’s important that potential customers consider the issue of long-term support.
Similarly, as open source solutions continue to evolve, so customers are increasingly regarding Linux vendors like any other commercial software provider – focusing on the overall business advantage, value for money and risk associated with these long-term technology investments.
We believe that the inherent advantages delivered by Microsoft’s products and support network means that they are still the logical choice for customers.

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