Visit to Microsoft’s Technology Center, Mountain View

March 26, 2003
This session was a presentation of Microsoft’s retail vision, as well as a tour of one of Microsoft’s Technology Centers in Mountain View.
Microsoft is positioning itself in the retail systems market, the activity is headquartered in Charlotte with representation in Europe. $1b business in retail and hospitality industry. The focus in the industry is on differentiation – WalMart eats everyone up – in California they will have 40 hypermalls by 2008. Retail model is changing from a mall model more towards superstores and online reatiling.
Microsoft’s offerings in this area, which contained many acronyms nicely displayed on blue boxes, were divided into three main categories: Smarter shopping, tools to enhance the in-store shopping experience. Smarter selling, tools to create sharper sales people, and Smarter operations. Microsoft is active in supporting a number of standards and tries to position their service tools, Biztalk, and various terminals together to offer a complete and fairly open solution. The competition from Open Source software was apparent – the speaker was keen to stress that Microsoft would work with anyone and anything in the retail area.
The Microsoft Technology Center was primarily used for three things: Scenario-based demonstrations for non-technical audiences of what Microsoft systems could do (in a showroom tableau’ing a company with a San Francisco and Hong Kong office); Small design rooms for scoping out and designing applications, and Proof-of-Concept application development projects. This was run on a number of different server and storage platforms, including Intel Itanium 64-bit processors.

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2 thoughts on “Visit to Microsoft’s Technology Center, Mountain View

  1. Erik

    Hi Espen,
    aren’t you too polite? My impression was they have a whole lot of products and needed another initiative to put them in?
    BR. Erik

  2. Espen

    I agree with you that that’s the case, but there is nothing wrong with trying to position your products to address a specific market. The problem comes when there is an implicit bargain that “if you base your strategy on us, we will take care of you” when in reality a $1b market is to small for MS to do anything specific with. The problem is not the products or the architecture – it is that the people serving the retail market does not have first access to the resources, top management attention, or any influence on the technical direction of any of the underlying products. You would as a retailer be much better off with a systems integrator using MS’ products where they suit and others’ products as necessary.

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