Does Microsoft have to buy Microsoft software?

I assume that most Microsoft employees use a number of Microsoft products to do their jobs. How do they acquire that software? Do they make software for themselves, do they “buy” it from themselves, do they buy it through a third-part vendor, or is there some other solution?

How does this work for accounting and profits?

And do Apple and other computer software/hardware manufacturers work the same way? (Free Power Macs for everyone in the office!)

If they’re getting their software for free, it’s really gotta hurt their licensing revenue – one of the world’s biggest corporations isn’t paying them a dime.

I don’t think companies that need to use their own products buy them from themselves. I used to work for a company that made transformers, and occasionally we’d need a specialized unit to test other transformers. I designed, wound and assembled a few of those myself (I always loved doing that), and we just took the materials out of stock. I’m sure Microsoft does the same with their products.

I can only speak for the large software/hardware company I work for. Not Microsoft or Apple.

Any software we sell is freely downloadable from our intranet and usable on our work machines and on home machines if used for business purposes. There’s no accounting for it at all. OTOH, we must use our software for all internal projects.

Our hardware is used for all internal desktops, laptops, and servers. It is available at a (not very) reduced price to employees and families. That everyone gets laptops now appeases this a bit.

Semi-anecdotal - I was at the Microsoft employee store in Redmond a few weeks ago - I’m not an employee but was in a class there. Employees can buy lots of the software very cheap at the store - $10 for games, maybe $20 for Office, etc. That would suggest that they can’t just freely download it from the Intranet. I would bet, though, that if you’re a developer on the Office team, you will have all the copies you want. Someone like Dooku will hopefully be along soon (PowerPoint - did that get his attention?) to explain how it works.

I recall reading somewhere on these boards that somebody’s brother’s best friend’s cousin’s fiancee was given a tour of The Campus for an NT4 pitch. Oddly enough, the sales flack didn’t mention the AS/400 boxes that were gamely churning away in HR and Accounting.

Could be bullshit, though.

IAAME. Specifically, a Developer for Macintosh PowerPoint.

We have a large amount of Internal Tools, like our Bug Database, that we designed internally and aren’t used outside the company. (Although I think our old Bug DBase was offered in an SDK). If we need to use any Office product, we can install it from an internal volume w/o paying for it. I don’t think it hurts revenue nor do we even consider it part of licensing revenue - these bits don’t have all the readme’s and all that, just the RTM builds located on an internal volume.

If we want to buy any of our products for our personal use, we have a “Company Store” where it is offered at an extreme discount.

Now, there are also several tools we use that are not owned by us, such as CodeWarrior, PowerBuilder, etc, that we also purchase and use. The Macs that we all use are purchased from Apple Store just like everyone else does. PCs are also purchased from the proper channels. All the various Printers in our lab are also purchased directly from those vendors. Whether we get a bulk discount or some other kind, I have no idea. But we do have several prototype machines that we need to test on ahead of time, which are given to our group for free, and which we return when we’re finished.

The only company-wide mandate about software use is that we “dogfood” our Beta stuff - IOW, we should all be using an unreleased version of any MS product that we use in our jobs, so that we can all basically be Alpha testers. For example, I’m using a MacIE Beta right now - in fact, vBulletin has uncovered a few bugs that I’ve logged while, um, Alpha testing the SDMB. :slight_smile: If we need to use something that MS doesn’t make, nobody really cares. I would never use PPT do do any complex graphic anything. Not while I have Photoshop.

I have worked on the Mac team for the last 7 years, all of them closely with Apple Devs, so I also know of their procedures through my colleagues.

Apple employees get work machines for free, “out of their stock” so to speak. Any machines they want to buy for personal use they can purchase at an extreme discount. Or, sometimes if they’re really old they can purchase them for next to nothing.

As for using Mac Office over there or other Mac Apps, I’m not sure how that works. I know Steve Jobs has them use their own internal desktop Apps whenever possible. Example: Keynote spawned from his internal Presentation software that he brought over from NeXT.

Hope this helps…

-3059 of 33,000

Ahh, it was in a Pit Thread.

I’ve worked for Microsoft in the past, and if you want Office or any flavor of Windows or Visual Studio or any other MS product on your work machine you really do just download it from the intranet. Maybe they keep track of the numbers, but there is no one standing there with a clipboard questioning whether you really needed Visual Source Safe on your machine. No one cares. Of course, games have to be installed the regular way…by bringing in a copy from home, or borrowing from someone.

And everything MS sells is available at a steep discount for full time employees. Contractors (50% of MS workforce) don’t get the discount. All that means is that you have to get your lead to take you to the store and buy you what you want.

Well, it’s only slightly related, but the actual company Microsoft sure doesn’t have to pay for it. Remember when Microsoft settled that anti-trust suit? They “paid” for it mostly with their own software.
Forgetting that the suit was for being monopolistic, and giving out Windows licences doesn’t really reverse that, why can’t I write a program, charge $50 for it, and get a huge tax writeoff when I give a bunch of schools a 10 cent CDR with it?

Pretty much any “Microsoft Affiliated” company (meaning, anyone being shafted for multi-user licencing) offers their employees discounted MS stuff through their MS rep. I’d imagine actually working for MS would get you much bigger discounts.

Keep your opinions out of GQ, please.

And then there was that Microsoft employee who ordered Microsoft software through the company’s internal system, stole it, sold it and lived the high life where he got caught:


Didn’t we have thread here about him? I cannot find it.

Since then, Microsoft changed its internal software procedures.

Found it!


There was also my Pit thread about that guy. Sadly, he killed himself before trial.

Not exactly - we changed auditing procedure for the way employees access a different Support tool for ordering replacement diskettes for customers, not any other other procedures that employees use to install their own software for work purposes.

Really? So sad.


Yeah, yeah, I know, but someone is gonna ask …

Total and rather blatant hijack (since the OP has been answered and we have Dooku’s attention) - know anything about the infamous “states” puzzle, created by a Microsoft manager? I can’t find anything more recent than March 15th on here, elsewhere on the Net or Google Answers.

I’m not Dooku but since you need a cite Duckster:

Thanks for the info. I was almost certain that Microsoft software would basically be free at Microsoft, but I was curious about how it all worked. Mostly I wondered if they kept track of how many copies were being used – it appears not…

It’s not just Microsoft employees that can get their software cheap. The employees of any Microsoft Partner or Value-Added Reseller can buy Microsoft software off the ‘NFR’ (Not For Resale) list. It’s a limited subset of Microsoft software, but it’s a pretty good deal. I can get most Microsoft games for $23 CDN. Microsoft Office Professional is, I think $120. XP Professional is somewhere around $80.

Depending on the Software, some of it is discounted 80% or more off retail, while some looks to be about wholesale.

Friend of a friend at Microsoft complained that in spite of massive revolt, they weren’t allowed to use competitor’s products (which they considered superior), but had to struggle with the MS ones instead. As I recall, my impression was he was referring to the 80’s, things like programmer’s tools.

A few times a year I get a call from Microsoft to do some software beta testing. I get to test new stuff on the latest computers, all the soda I want for free and I get some free software for doing it. Most of the software has been the not for retail sale version.