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Comms news: Why the numbers add up for Microsoft

Microsoft by the Numbers site: keeping communication simple

September 3, 2013

Numbers can – sometimes – tell a story more effectively than words, according to one of the bosses at tech giant Microsoft.

And now they have developed the website to prove it.

The software company has launched a fresh approach to communicating information with its customers – sharing the essential figures that make up its business.

Microsoft by the Numbers website is a straight-forward, warts-and-all approach, lifting the lid on internal company statistics to the wider world.

These include how many Xbox consoles have been sold worldwide and the amount of people using Yammer to the more unusual – like the number of pizza slices consumed in Microsoft canteens across the globe.

Frank X. Shaw, vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft, is adamant that – at times – numbers have more impact than words.

He wrote on his blog: “I’m a words guy.

“My business revolves around words, how they’re written and how they’re interpreted.

“But sometimes numbers are more effective at telling a story than words.”

He added: “In the spirit of live tiles, we’ll update this site frequently, so you can keep apprised of the progress we’re making in our transition to a devices and services company, and of how many cans of Coke Zero we’re consuming each year (hint: it’s the most popular soda on our campus).”

It’s certainly a bold and innovative approach to convey company information by Microsoft although – obviously – the limited words still provide an essential impact for the site.

Microsoft: some of the key figures

* 2 billion minutes are used by Skype users every day

* 400 million people use email service Outlook.com

* 554,000 slices of pizza are consumed in Microsoft canteens

* 18 billion hours of entertainment was provided by Xbox in 2012

* 1 million Coke Zero drinks are consumed by Microsoft employees each year.