Successful Microsoft Partnerships

Nokia Plan B led me to “In memoriam: Microsoft’s previous strategic mobile partners“. This got me thinking: can anyone name a company which fits the following criteria?

  • Announced a major partnership with Microsoft
  • Took all or most of the actions or joint actions specified in the initial press release
  • Produced benefits to long-term shareholders as a result

Or to put it another way: can anyone name a Microsoft partnership which turned out to be a good thing for the company concerned? (This is not a rhetorical question; I am not implying there have never been any.)

“Partnership” means working together on products, not just reselling Windows.

10 thoughts on “Successful Microsoft Partnerships

  1. It would be a much shorter list, I can tell you that for free.

    IBM is an arguable case. On the one hand, if it weren’t for Microsoft’s participation (in creating DOS), IBM *might* not have successfully made the transition into the computer and electronics industry (from their roots in purely mechanical devices). So one could argue that the Microsoft deal revolutionized IBM and saved their bacon. On the other hand, the availability of an independent OS from Microsoft allowed the entry into the market of numerous competitors, and IBM’s market share declined steadily during the early PC era as a result. It is arguable that if IBM had simply developed DOS in-house, they might have ended up with a rather larger slice of the pie. I’m not sure it’s possible to know which perspective is correct, because there are a lot of “what-if” factors.

  2. Are Nokia going to work together with Microsoft on products and not just resell Windows (Mobile)?

  3. Perhaps some of the outright acquisitions might count: Vermeer Technologies (FrontPage), Fox Software (FoxPro), etc. But those are a different sort of problem. The deal gets negotiated up front, “assimilation” (in the borg sense) is assumed, and the partner isn’t depending upon being able to work with MS over time to achieve a return. I can’t think of any “partnership” deals that went well.

  4. @Jonadab: Huh?

    When I started programming professionally in 1969, IBM was already a long-established maker of electronic computers (at the time, the Series-360 was the great fashion, but before that there had been the 1401 and 1440 which were already regarded as “old”, and before dropping out of college I had learnt FORTRAN there on an IBM-7040) while personal computers (for home use by people like you and me) were still a totally unknown concept.

    OTOH, Microsoft did not “create” DOS, they *bought* something named QDOS (for Quick and Dirty Operating System) which had been written (over a weekend, or so the legend goes) by a single guy (whose name I’ve forgotten) as a fully documented port to 16-bit Intel-8086 computers of the CP-M operating system which (by that time) was already well-established for “office use” on the 8-bit 8080; then they quickly renamed it “MS-DOS 1.0” because their marketing department didn’t like anything billed as “quick and dirty”. Then Unix-like functions were added in Dos 2.0, CJK scripts (as a fork of the “main” OS) in Dos 2.5, hard disks in Dos 3.0, etc.

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