Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vista's 157 thousand new PR jobs

A 14-page IDC report (download PDF here), commissioned by Microsoft, says that Vista will create "157,000 new jobs."

Mac fans could (and do) take cheap shots at this number. "Yeah, right. Vista will suck so bad that you'll need 157 thousand people to answer tech support calls."

But these shots would miss the point. They would imply that someone seriously investigated how exactly Vista would effect the IT job and spendings market. Instead, here's what the study does.

  1. It forecasts that IT spendings, thus also the IT job market, will grow in 2007 in the United States.
  2. It then predicts that the ratio of "Vista-related" spending* (thus also jobs) will grow.
  3. As a result, 157 thousand out of the 400 thousand new jobs will be "Vista jobs."
  4. Then it concludes that all these jobs would be single-handedly created by Vista.
Never mind that Vista will be bundled with just about every new PC sold, so Windows market share will continue to be determined mostly by license agreements with PC vendors. Therefore, any overall growth in computer hardware sales will likely result in a growth of Vista's perceived job market share, especially since IDC classifies anything that "runs on or supports Vista" as a "Vista job."

If you buy a Dell, erase Vista from it, and install Linux, IDC says you'll still contribute to Vista spending. If a company replaces all of its five-year-old PCs with new ones, it will contribute to IDC's idea of Vista spending. If you're a software vendor, and your software happens to be compatible with Vista, you're contributing to Vista spending, and if you increase your sales, even more so, according to IDC.**

But it gets better. According to the report, "For every dollar of Microsoft Windows Vista revenue in the U.S., IDC expects $18.00 to be generated in revenues by other companies in the Microsoft ecosystem. " A graph shows that these 18 dollars are made up of $9.75 in hardware sales, $4.60 in software sales, and $3.65 in services.

Here's the deal. You buy a PC, it will have Vista installed, and you'll pay a hidden charge for it. If you're IDC, you'll interpret it as wow, a one-dollar income for Microsoft has just created a ten-dollar hardware sale. But then in IDC's world, gas spendings probably lead to car purchases, just as hangovers lead to parties.

But there's another approach. How about, "for every ten dollars of hardware sales, Microsoft receives a one-dollar tax"?

Because, you know, I'm sure all that hardware would run something, even if Vista, or Heaven forbid, Microsoft weren't around at all.

Well, IDC's gig as Microsoft's court poet must have blurred its vision:
While it is easy to think of Microsoft as simply the world's largest software company, it is more than that. It is an economic force that has a direct, positive impact on the countries in which it operates.
Full disclosure: this blog has never been sponsored by Microsoft.

*IDC must have meant to say Windows market share here, as most versions of Vista haven't even shipped yet, so it would be pretty bad for Microsoft if Vista's current, virtually non-existant market share grew one percentage point between now and a year from now.

**Someone should do the same math with Tiger (as well as Leopard). Mac OS X market share has increased lately, and I'm sure all those extra users would never have bought any kind of computer had Tiger not been released.

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