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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM

Microsoft spokesman plays the numbers, gets flak

Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw caused a minor stir over the weekend with a blog post showing how the company stacks up against a few competitors.

It’s an interesting response to the big numbers Apple releases after its new products launch, although Shaw notably didn’t say much about Microsoft’s phone sales.

A sample of his post, which is like a bloggy version of the “fast facts” fixture of Microsoft.com’s press page:

7.1 million — Projected iPad sales for 2010.

58 million — Projected netbook sales in 2010.

355 million — Projected PC sales in 2010.

10 — Percentage of US netbooks running Windows in 2008.

96 — Percentage of US netbooks running Windows in 2009.

0 — Number of paying customers running on Windows Azure in November 2009.

10,000 — Number of paying customers running on Windows Azure in June 2010.

700,000 — Number of students, teachers and staff using Microsoft’s cloud productivity tools in Kentucky public schools, the largest cloud deployment in the US.

173 million — Global Gmail users.

284 million — Global Yahoo! Mail users.

360 million — Global Windows Live Hotmail users.

299 million — Active Windows Live Messenger Accounts worldwide.

1 — Rank of Windows Live Messenger globally compared to all other instant messaging services.

I hate to join the embarrassing parade of tech reporters commenting on this item, but I was a little irked by the section comparing newspaper subscriptions to Xbox Live subscriptions.

To show how big Xbox Live has become, Shaw compared its subscribers (23 million) with Netflix (14 million subscribers) and the top 25 U.S. daily newspapers (16 million).

Xbox Live is a good success story for Microsoft, but it’s an apples to oranges comparison with newspapers.

By using the tally of the top 25 papers, he missed two-thirds of the newspaper subscribers in this country. The total is more like 46 million paying subscribers, and 100 million readers daily.

That long tail is significant — it’s how a majority of people in the country still get their news.

If you want to get even more specific, Xbox Live links subscriptions to individuals, while newspaper subscriptions are per household, so the 100 million readers is probably a better comparison.

Xbox Live is an international service, so the comparison should be to global newspaper subscriptions, which for the time being are probably 20 times greater than Xbox Live.

The newspaper business was a $164 billion industry globally last year, compared with $55 billion for the video game industry, and more than 500 million people buy a newspaper every day.

Maybe newspapers should play up the fact that they’re delivering interactive games (think Sudoku and crosswords) and entertainment as well as news.

Comments | Topics: Apple, apple, Microsoft

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