Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1998 (Revised February 1999)

Microsoft Office: Finding the Suite Spot

by Stefan H. Thomke and Steven Sinofsky


Describes a key decision-making process within Microsoft's Office products division. At a time when the PC software business has a great deal of uncertainty, Microsoft's management has to make a key decision regarding the future of software suites. A strengthening of suite development as a common platform would require significant organizational, process, and strategic alignments that may weaken the individual software divisions. Focuses on: 1) software development, with an emphasis on multi-applications suites; 2) different models of product innovation (common platform versus individual elements); 3) managerial challenges in aligning processes and the organization of several independent development units.

Keywords: Decisions; Software; Strategic Planning; Organizational Design; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Product Development; Managerial Roles; Growth and Development Strategy; Risk and Uncertainty; Goals and Objectives; Multi-Sided Platforms; Innovation and Management; Computer Industry; Information Technology Industry;


Thomke, Stefan H., and Steven Sinofsky. "Microsoft Office: Finding the Suite Spot." Harvard Business School Case 699-046, November 1998. (Revised February 1999.)