Office has a billion users – true or false?

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Hard to believe Microsoft’s statement that Office has a billion users.

Microsoft has been boasting this week about the billion users of Microsoft Office.

Over 15 years of listening to Microsoft statistics we’re automatically suspicious of any such number, especially when the speaker can’t give any justification for the number.

One billion people sounds credible until you consider that it’s one-seventh of the entire human race. 

But let’s try to be fair to Microsoft.   Over a quarter of that 7 billion are under 14 years old.  So it’s more like a billion out of 5 billion which is all people 15 years and over including those over 65 years (7.9%).  We’ll assume that each of those 5 billion are possible Office users – which is a big assumption.

That’s still a whopping 1 in 5 ‘adults’ that Microsoft says are using Office across the globe

In the developed world we’re lucky enough to have one or more computers/devices each.

Most people on Earth worry about getting regular food and clean water, let alone a reliable electricity supply.  Affording a computer and Microsoft Office is beyond a pipe dream for most people.  After all, a third of the world lives on $2 a day .

Yes, Office is popular, if not ubiquitous, but a billion users? 

The more you think about it, the less credible it becomes.

Maybe this is one of those corporate made-up statistics that Microsoft hopes will become ‘real’ if they say it enough times.

Office is popular enough without these pseudo and unverified statements.  Like the exaggerations about Click to Run, this kind of statement only hurts Microsoft’s credibility and insults customers.

Honest, verifiable, statements about the use of Microsoft Office should impress anyone – no exaggeration needed.

The ‘One billion’ line needs to be struck from the Microsoft script and slide decks.

* Calculations of average income across the globe are notoriously difficult.  Whatever method you use, it’s reasonable to say that a computer and MS Office is way beyond the means for the majority of people.


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