Microsoft Announces That Some “included free” Features Will Now Cost Extra: What’s Free Today, is Fee Tomorrow

Scott Braden
Jan. 30,2017 |

For some time, we have espoused the wisdom of diversification out of your ‘Microsoft’ portfolio, and look for ways to find, test and integrate disruptive suppliers and solutions.  The reason is pretty simple – with diversification comes innovation, cost reduction, and eventually transformation.

However, if you never make an attempt to diversify and look at new solutions, you can hardly ever hope to achieve any of the aforementioned goals.  In fact, quite the opposite will happen.  Over time you will wonder why the organization is ‘stuck’ while costs are rising and innovation flounders.  In this kind of company, we see folks running from one panic to the next without being able to take a breath.

Microsoft is only all too happy to feed this monster, and we see evidence of this again in 2017.  In areas of their product base where growth is stagnant, they are moving features that were free last year – and now making them part of ‘Premium’ subscriptions.

This is consistent with Microsoft’s long history of increasing their revenues not only by unit price increases but more by changes to product terms and features.  Really, it’s a lot like getting your cable bill.  You sign up for the 2 year $100 package, but after the first year is over the bill ends up being $175, because after all, you needed the extra cable boxes, multi room DVR, and HBO – which was all part of the ‘package’ in year one, but now you pay for it in year 2.

This type of behavior is not a surprise and is really standard based on our experience with Microsoft.  The real question is, what are you going to do about it?

For guidance, look at the example of portfolio optimization that investment fund managers continually seek.  So what do most Portfolio Managers do?  Several things actually, but a couple of the most important ones are to research and diversify.  With research, they are always looking for long term value and growth in quality companies.  They are never satisfied with the status quo, and on the constant hunt for value.  And when they find it, they add them to the portfolio.  With diversification, Money Managers are adding value companies to the portfolio whose risk may be high, mixed with others that may have lower risk.  What they typically don’t do – is invest everything in one or two companies and leave their fate to them.

More companies should employ that approach in introducing new and disruptive technologies into their own organizations.  When you have zero alternatives, then all you have left is to sit there and ‘take it’ when Microsoft decides to move your cheese.  No leverage, no options, no alternatives.

The challenge for IT and supplier managers is that few enterprises have dedicated personnel to seek out, evaluate, test, pilot and implement new suppliers and technologies.  Simply, staffs are so thin that there is barely time to “keep the lights on” and no time to seek out long-shot alternatives.

Most business leaders agree that, in theory, pilot programs and testing should be ongoing and budgeted, with incentives for innovation.

NET(net) understands these challenges and that’s why we’ve developed the WIN(win) platform which enables RapidRfx and our proprietary supplier database, so our clients can shortcut the time and labor to identify, screen and compete disruptive suppliers.

Remember, as ‘The Great One’ (Wayne Gretzky) once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  Time to take a shot.  You might miss a few, but the one you make could make it all worth it and then some.


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