September 7, 1999

The Secret (?) of Microsoft's Success

A single person stands on stage, holding a customer-response envelope made by the Microsoft Corporation.

The Microsoft Corporation ranks as one of the richest corporations of all time. Microsoft is the first company to exceed five-hundred billion dollars in market value. If Microsoft were a country, it would be the ninth largest country in the world, trailing behind the five-hundred-fifty-three billion dollar Gross Domestic Product value of Spain.

And I think I know why Microsoft is so rich. And it has nothing to do with software success or effective marketability.

My sister recently bought a PC, so naturally it's chock-full of Microsoft software. My sister had to fill out a warranty form and send it back to Microsoft, and Microsoft was kind enough to provide (shows the envelope) a handy business-sized response envelope, just like this one.

But while a lot of other companies--most of them nowhere near as profitable as Microsoft--include postage-free envelopes, with a "postage will be paid by addressee" label, Microsoft doesn't have such a label. Their envelopes are marked with a handy little reminder: "Place stamp here."



  1. The New York Times. July 17, 1999.