If new data are true, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has a big problem.
According to a study done by SoftWatch, seven out of 10 employees don't use Microsoft Office to any extent.
The three-month study involved 148,500 employees at 51 global firms. SoftWatch found that most employees were using the applications, largely for viewing documents or very light editing.
On average, employees spent about 48 minutes per day using Microsoft Office. About two thirds of that time was spent on Microsoft Outlook, checking and responding to email.
Excel, the second most used Office application, only got 8 minutes of usage per day.
The study divided users into heavy users, light users, viewers, and inactive users. Fully 29 percent of employees never used Excel or Word or used it only to view documents sent to them.
Remember when PowerPoint was the program of choice for every presentation? Today, only about one out of every 20 users could be described as heavy users.
SoftWatch says that based on its results, companies could cut way down on their Microsoft licensing fees by transitioning employees to Google Apps.
More than 47 percent of Microsoft’s annual revenue comes from commercial licensing with another 23 percent made up of consumer licensing. As of 2013, Office was outselling Windows by a large margin.
Because Microsoft changed how it reports earnings, year-over-year comparisons have become nearly impossible. If Office has such a low usage rate, that could spell disaster for one of Microsoft’s flagship products.
The risk isn’t news to Microsoft, however. The company now offers a cloud subscription to its products. For users who only use the products to view documents, the company has free mobile apps that allow for viewing.
Others would argue that Office isn’t going away any time soon.
Large organizations know that introducing multiple platforms into their ecosystem can be an IT nightmare. An advantage to Office is that it allows employees to easily collaborate on documents. Further, the Office 365 Enterprise plan has licenses starting at $2 per month—lower than the cost of Google Apps.
Most important, data should be viewed in context.
SoftWatch is a company that sells its analytics products that allow companies to access whether moving some employees from more expensive licenses like Microsoft Office to cheaper applications like Google drive would help their bottom line. SoftWatch is also a Google Apps reseller.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker had no position in the company mentioned but is a heavy Microsoft Office user.
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