Sometimes, the sheer size of a company like Microsoft can make it quite hard to see and realise just how large and profitable such a company can really be. In these kinds of situations, there’s nothing like a clear graph to make all those pretty numbers tangible. Up to a point.
BusinessInsider has a chart of the day thing going, and a few days ago they published a very intriguing graph that shows quite clearly how each division within Microsoft, still the largest and most profitable software company in the world, contributes to the company’s overall profit picture. It’s important to note that the graph denotes operating profit – not revenue (just in case the numbers didn’t blow your mind enough already).
As you can see, Microsoft still makes most of its money from its Windows and Office divisions, with the Server and Tools division doing very well too. Entertainment and devices is interesting; you can see it doing well during the holidays, only to lose money during the rest of the year. Online services are still a money pit – but it’s peanuts compared to the profits gained by other divisions. The two spikes are caused by Windows releases – Vista, and more recently Windows 7. Especially the latter is raking in a lot of money for the company at the moment.
For years now, I’ve been amused by those “Microsoft will die at the hands of Apple and Linux!” claims people have been making (and continue to make) on the internet. I think these people fail to realise just how incredibly stable the income stream is from the Windows and Office cashcows, and just how much Microsoft is really worth.
Like any other company, Microsoft has had its fair share of very nasty business practices, and since it’s a company, I am unable to like them – but I do have to admire what Bill Gates and his fellow Microsofties have built. This is a massive empire that has had – and is having – a tremendous amount of impact on the world (for better or worse), and for a college drop-out that ain’t half-bad.
At least Bill has some coding cred – unlike that acid-popping Steve guy in Cupertino.