I always find statistics fascinating. More often than not the figures will have been manipulated to suit the company paying for the research, particularly where the press is concerned.
Take, for example, my favourite subject: the trains. Year after year the stats released by the train company I travel with say my trains were about 97 per cent punctual and 95 per cent reliable.
I must have been travelling on the wrong train line. Somewhere nearby there
must be a parallel service operating at such a high level of efficiency that
an eye-watering sum on a season ticket each year is worth every penny.
But it turns out that to be deemed reliable a train can still be cancelled or up to 30 minutes late. Provided the overall timetable is adhered to the train operator execs can expect their bonuses.
This week, Microsoft released figures claiming that for every £1 it makes, its partners will make an impressive £7.50.
Many of its resellers, it seems, should be living the life of Bill Gates, watching the millions roll in. But before you reach for the Moët or Cristal, it is time for a reality check.
Partners say that although this figure may well be correct in theory, if you
divide that profit among all Microsoft product sales and take off the actual
cost of selling the software, such as staff wages and training, the real figure
is much lower.
To be fair to Microsoft, it invests a lot of time and marketing collateral in running its channel, and has been widely praised by partners for its levels of support and general channel friendliness compared to other vendors.
But does it really need to commission such a self-serving piece of research in the first place? Surely it is better to let the performance and testimonials of its channel do the talking?
Sara Yirrell is editor of CRN - [email protected]
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