Thus, a Mandarin version of Microsoft Office could have a different price from an Arabic version of the same software program. Unfortunately, this addresses only part of the global pricing dilemma since many of Microsoft's products are sold in English. Ultimately, Microsoft will probably opt to price its products on a country by country basis - taking into account economic conditions, exchange rates, and inroads made by its competitors in each country.
Product: Having the right product for its target market requires knowing what corporate customers as well as consumers need and want. At Microsoft, the product is the full bundle of goods and services offered including software and after sales service. Product characteristics include the functionality, appearance, and support customers receive when Microsoft products are purchased.
Product also includes the unique features, functions, and characteristics of Microsoft software that are not available from its competitors' products. It is important that Microsoft be able to continue to distinguish and differentiate its products from the competition. To that end, during fiscal years 2001, 2002, and 2003, research and development expenses were a staggering $4.38 billion, $4.31 billion, and $4.66 billion, respectively. Those amounts represented 17.3%, 15.2%, and 14.5%, respectively, of revenue in each of those years.
Most of Microsoft's products are developed internally, but the company also purchases new technology, licenses intellectual property rights, and oversees third-party development of certain products. Microsoft's products include scalable operating systems for servers, personal computers, and intelligent devices; server applications for client/server environments; information worker productivity applications; business solutions applications; and software development tools. The company also provides consulting services and product support services. It also trains and cer...
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