Research Outline

I want to understand how Microsoft works

Early Findings


Uncover how the Microsoft company is organized and especially how they overview their network system. This information will be used to better understand the way to invest in the production of sofware products.

Early Findings

  • Microsoft Corporation is organized in product types divisions, Global Corporate Groups and Geographic segments.
  • These product types include software and hardware.
  • Product type divisions at Microsoft are (1) Productivity and Business Processes, (2) Intelligent Cloud, (3) More Personal Computing and (4) Corporate and Other.
  • Global Corporate Groups include all support functions, such as Marketing, HR, Finance, Business Development, Legal, Corporate Strategy, Operations and many others.
  • Microsoft's organization is also split by geographical segments, which are shown in the financial reports.
  • Microsoft's network is called MSN, and evolved from a subscription-based system in 1995 to a website in 1996, eventually providing Web-based applications, such as Outlook and Internet Explorer.
  • Microsoft Networking is different from its network.
  • Microsoft's network includes Microsoft Azure, Bing, Office 365, Xbox and many other cloud-based services, that generate trillions of requests for many different types of data.
  • These services are expected to be operational and fast by customers, and Microsoft's global wide-area network (WAN) is responsible for providing it.
  • Microsoft's WAN relies on hundreds of datacenters across 38 regions to provide a high performance service.
  • This WAN is build on three principles, that are (1) proximity to consumers, (2) control of capacity and reliability, and (3) proactive network traffic control.
  • Proximity means that network routing is optimized to make sure that the network path is as short or direct as possible.
  • To make sure capacity is high, Microsoft invests heavily in private fiber to build their backbone network, one of the largest in the world.
  • To increase reliability and prepare for potential disruptions and incidents, Microsoft have chosen to have multiple networking paths with automatic routing in case of failures.
  • To proactively control network traffic, Microsoft use SDN technologies to manage routine in an optimal way, and allows to centralize management of network infrastructure.

Proposed Next Steps

Following preliminary research on how Microsoft runs and specifically how their network is managed, we can provide two types of research:
  • Deep dive on how Microsoft manage their network, including their strategy, and detailed explanations on the three guiding principles that they use. (3 Hours, $87)
  • An overview on how Microsoft is organized, including their organizational structure, their business processes, with a focus on their software production side of the business. (3 Hours, $87)