The office collaboration market is white-hot, with Microsoft, Google and Amazon preparing for a long drawn-out battle. But Microsoft is slowly, but surely, racing ahead of all its competitors. Nearly two months ago, Microsoft lifted the secret veil on Office 365 numbers letting the world know that they have 85 million monthly active users for their lead productivity application. Now, that number has ballooned to 100 million.
In his keynote address during the Microsoft Build Conference underway in Seattle, Washington, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Office 365 has reached the huge morale-boosting milestone of 100 million monthly active users – and that’s only the commercial user base. Granted, commercial users will obviously outnumber consumer subscribers for an enterprise application such as Office 365, but for Microsoft to get 100 million users to use its SaaS application that was rolled out a five years ago is a huge achievement in itself.
Office 365 could possibly be the largest software subscription service in use today. Netflix, the world’s favorite streaming video service, is yet to cross the 100 million subscriber mark.
Office 365 is also possibly the biggest gamble Microsoft has ever taken, considering the fact that they had a robust revenue stream in Microsoft Office, a standalone software application that the majority of the world’s enterprise companies and smaller businesses were using.
When Microsoft launched Office 365, it always knew that it would cannibalize Microsoft Office licensing revenues. But it still took the risk, betting that cloud-delivered software was the way to go, instead of selling software that required an installation on every system.
But that risk is now paying off in spades for Microsoft. Their Productivity and Business Processes segment, which houses Office 365 and its cousin, Dynamics 365, is the second-best earner for Microsoft, netting a handsome $8 billion during the recent quarter, a growth rate of 22% compared to last year.
At the current rate, this segment will soon dwarf Microsoft’s revenues from the More Personal Computing segment, which holds Windows revenues, along with devices, gaming and search.
Think about it: Two SaaS applications trouncing a segment that holds windows, devices, search and gaming revenues. A few year’s ago, if someone had told you that Microsoft will make more money by selling cloud software than from selling windows, I bet you would have laughed at them. But now, that day has already arrived, and they have 100 million Office 365 users to show for it.
If Microsoft has added more than 15 million users during the last two months, it’s clear that there is a massive demand for the product even six years after its original public release. And with alternative choices like G Suite not scaling up to match Office 365’s sales performance in the near-term, Microsoft will practically run away with the market.
Google and Amazon are both trying to elbow their way into the office collaboration and productivity segment. Google has powerful products, and Amazon has a will to succeed, which they’ve shown many times before. Neither, however, is within touching distance of Microsoft’s Office 365 at this point in time.