Microsoft Enlists Live Tiles to Quantify Company Data

Microsoft is tapping one of its Windows 8 features to serve up company stats, like the fact that staffers eat more than half a million slices of pizza each year.

data shower

How many minutes do users spend on Skype each day? How much revenue does Office 365 generate for Microsoft?

The software giant, which is fashioning itself into a "devices and services" company, is opening up on its impact on the IT market, along with other company facts and figures with a newly launched Website called Microsoft by the Numbers. Visitors can explore various facets of the sprawling software company using a Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 signature feature, and source of litigation, the Live Tiles interface.

Arguing that "numbers are more effective at telling a story than words," Frank X. Shaw, vice president of corporate communications at Microsoft announced in an Aug. 12 blog post: "We’re introducing a new site at that uses a familiar interface to highlight some of the important (and not-so-important) facts about our business and our company."

Just as the Live Tiles feature was a departure from the static Windows interfaces of the past, Shaw indicated that the site would follow suit. "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)," he wrote.

The site offers not only a glimpse into how Microsoft is performing in the technology market, it pulls back the curtain on some of the company's lesser known programs and initiatives. Clicking or tapping on a Live Tile (30 tiles are live as of this writing) expounds on a particular data point and displays links to supporting information or related company Websites.

On the software front, the company claims that 100 million Windows 8 licenses have been sold to date. More than 250 million apps have been downloaded from the Windows Store, and as of July 2013, Internet Explorer clung to 56.5 percent of the browser market. Skype's user base spends 2 billion minutes on the platform each day.

Yammer, the enterprise social network Microsoft acquired last year for $1.2 billion, has over 7 million users. Office 365 is "on track to become a $1.5 billion business—one of the fastest-growing in Microsoft history," boasts the company.

Microsoft's cloud investments appear to be paying off as well. The company's soon-to-be-rebranded cloud storage service, SkyDrive, has over 250 million users. Of the Fortune 500, 50 percent use the Windows Azure cloud platform. "On average, over 1,000 new customers sign up for Windows Azure every day," added Microsoft.

In addition, Microsoft by the Numbers sheds light on some facts that typically fly under the radar.

YouthSpark, a program that awards grants to nonprofit youth organizations, has touched the lives of 80 million young people, according to the company. The company's employee-backed Giving campaign has raised $1 billion for over 31,000 charities.

Dietary preferences are also on display.

Microsoft employees eat more than 500,000 slices of pizza and 250,000 personal pizzas each year. They are washed down by 2.6 million gallons of soda each year. The favorite soft drink: Coke Zero (1 million cans annually).

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...