Microsoft's discount furniture strategy and why CIOs should care

By Eric Lundquist  |  Posted 2008-11-14

Here in Boston there are lots of discount furniture stores advertising on television. There is Bob's Discount Furniture -- home of the Bob-o-pedic mattress and Jordan's megastore furniture stores which include movie theaters and all sorts of entertaining diversions to occupy you while the salesfolk endeavor to separate you from your money. One common advertising ploy is to offer low financing and no payments for a year or so to make it easy for you to get that recliner in your living room so you can watch the Patriots game in full comfort.

So with a looming, or in fact already loomed and crushing us, recession at hand, why haven't the tech vendors started offering similar deals? Well, they have. As Ben Worthen notes in his Wall Street Journal blog, Microsoft has started offering 0% financing on some of its Microsoft Dynamics enterprise software packages. PC World does a good job at detailing the package.

As is obvious from those reports, there are lots of details about whether or not you and your company qualify for the deal. If this strikes you a bit like those come on in ads from car dealers, you are probably thinking along the same lines as I am. However, I do see some hopeful signs here. I think in a downturn you will see more companies turn to leasing and long financing terms to get the equipment and software they really need in 2009. Microsoft has been in the somewhat enviable position over the last several years as having more money than they know what to do with it all. The biggest folly was the attempted buy-out of Yahoo. How about using some of that cash hoard to help out customers that might be willing to spring for some new systems but face a really tight budget right now? I think Steve Ballmer could do some really great late night ads offering no money down, no payment for a year deal.

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