Microsoft Pricing Strategy

Microsoft’s pricing strategy incorporates factors like product portfolio, market segmentation, and competitor analysis. Utilizing SaaS, bundling, and volume licensing, the company benefits from recurring revenue, customer retention, and market share growth. However, challenges arise from price sensitivity, dynamic markets, and piracy issues, requiring adaptability and effective pricing tactics.

Pricing StrategyDescriptionExample
Software LicensingMicrosoft offers various software products under traditional licensing models, including perpetual licenses and subscriptions.Microsoft Office is available as a one-time purchase or through Microsoft 365 subscription plans.
Subscription-Based ServicesMicrosoft emphasizes subscription-based services like Microsoft 365, Azure, and Xbox Game Pass, providing ongoing revenue streams and regular updates.Microsoft 365 offers monthly or annual subscription plans for businesses and individuals, including productivity apps and cloud storage.
Tiered PricingMicrosoft often employs tiered pricing models for cloud services like Azure, with different pricing tiers based on usage and features.Azure provides multiple pricing tiers to accommodate the needs of startups, enterprises, and developers.
Enterprise AgreementsMicrosoft offers customized licensing agreements for large enterprises and organizations, allowing flexible pricing and licensing terms.Enterprise customers negotiate agreements with Microsoft, which can include volume discounts and tailored services.
Open LicensingMicrosoft’s Open License program offers discounts to small and midsize businesses purchasing software licenses in bulk.Small businesses can save on software costs by purchasing multiple licenses through the Open License program.
Educational and Nonprofit DiscountsMicrosoft provides discounts and special pricing for educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.Office 365 for Education and Microsoft for Nonprofits offer discounted or free access to Microsoft’s software and services.
Free ProductsMicrosoft offers several free products, such as Windows 10 (with limitations), Visual Studio Code, and Microsoft Teams, to attract users and promote ecosystem growth.Microsoft Teams offers a free version with basic features, encouraging collaboration among small teams.
Device BundlesMicrosoft bundles software and services with hardware products like Surface devices, creating value for customers and promoting ecosystem loyalty.Surface Pro devices often come with a pre-installed Windows operating system and trial versions of Microsoft 365 apps.
Partner Discounts and IncentivesMicrosoft provides discounts and incentives to its partner network, encouraging them to sell Microsoft products and services.Microsoft offers partner discounts and incentives to resellers, distributors, and managed service providers.
Specialized Pricing for GovernmentMicrosoft offers specialized pricing and compliance certifications for government agencies to ensure data security and regulatory compliance.Microsoft Government Cloud offers dedicated cloud solutions for government customers, meeting specific regulatory requirements.
Dynamic PricingMicrosoft may adjust pricing for cloud services based on factors like usage, demand, and geographic location, offering competitive rates.Azure employs dynamic pricing for virtual machines and other cloud resources, with pay-as-you-go and reserved instance options.


  1. Product Portfolio: Microsoft’s pricing decisions are influenced by the range of products and services they offer, from software to cloud-based solutions.
  2. Market Segmentation: The company targets different customer segments with tailored pricing strategies.
  3. Competitor Analysis: Microsoft considers competitors’ pricing to maintain competitiveness in the market.
  4. Value Proposition: Pricing is based on the unique value Microsoft provides to customers.
  5. Cost Structure: Production costs and overheads play a role in pricing decisions.

Pricing Strategies:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS): Microsoft employs subscription-based pricing for cloud-based services.
  2. Bundling: The company offers bundled packages of products and services for cost-effectiveness.
  3. Volume Licensing: Microsoft provides discounts for large enterprise customers.


  1. Recurring Revenue: Subscription-based pricing models generate steady income for Microsoft.
  2. Customer Retention: Bundled offerings foster customer loyalty and retention.
  3. Market Share Growth: Competitive pricing strategies help Microsoft expand its market presence.


  1. Price Sensitivity: Understanding customer price sensitivity and adapting to changes.
  2. Dynamic Market Conditions: The company must adjust pricing to rapidly changing technologies and market dynamics.
  3. Piracy and Licensing: Addressing piracy challenges and managing licensing compliance.

Key Takeaways

  • Holistic Approach: Microsoft’s pricing strategy is influenced by its diverse product portfolio, ranging from software to cloud-based solutions.
  • Targeted Segmentation: The company tailors its pricing strategies to different customer segments, ensuring a targeted approach.
  • Competitor Awareness: Microsoft considers competitors’ pricing to maintain competitiveness and market positioning.
  • Value-Centric Pricing: Pricing decisions are grounded in the unique value propositions that Microsoft offers to its customers.
  • Cost Consideration: Production costs and overheads are taken into account to set sustainable pricing.
  • SaaS Model: Microsoft uses subscription-based pricing for cloud-based services, ensuring recurring revenue.
  • Bundling Strategy: Bundled packages provide customers with comprehensive solutions and enhance loyalty.
  • Volume Licensing: Discounts for large enterprises help Microsoft secure business from major clients.
  • Recurring Revenue: Subscription models ensure a steady stream of income for Microsoft.
  • Customer Loyalty: Bundled offerings contribute to customer retention and loyalty.
  • Market Expansion: Competitive pricing strategies aid in expanding Microsoft’s market presence.
  • Price Sensitivity: Microsoft must understand customer price sensitivity and adapt to changes.
  • Adapting to Dynamics: The company needs to adjust pricing to the ever-changing technology landscape.
  • Piracy and Compliance: Microsoft addresses challenges related to piracy and ensures licensing compliance.

Pricing Related Visual Resources

Premium Pricing

The premium pricing strategy involves a company setting a price for its products that exceeds similar products offered by competitors.

Price Skimming

Price skimming is primarily used to maximize profits when a new product or service is released. Price skimming is a product pricing strategy where a company charges the highest initial price a customer is willing to pay and then lowers the price over time.

Productized Services

Productized services are services that are sold with clearly defined parameters and pricing. In short, that is about taking any product and transforming it into a service. This trend has been strong as the subscription-based economy developed.

Menu Costs

Menu costs describe any cost that a business must absorb when it decides to change its prices. The term itself references restaurants that must incur the cost of reprinting their menus every time they want to increase the price of an item. In an economic context, menu costs are expenses that are incurred whenever a business decides to change its prices.

Price Floor

A price floor is a control placed on a good, service, or commodity to stop its price from falling below a certain limit. Therefore, a price floor is the lowest legal price a good, service, or commodity can sell for in the market. One of the best-known examples of a price floor is the minimum wage, a control set by the government to ensure employees receive an income that affords them a basic standard of living.

Predatory Pricing

Predatory pricing is the act of setting prices low to eliminate competition. Industry dominant firms use predatory pricing to undercut the prices of their competitors to the point where they are making a loss in the short term. Predatory prices help incumbents keep a monopolistic position, by forcing new entrants out of the market.

Price Ceiling

A price ceiling is a price control or limit on how high a price can be charged for a product, service, or commodity. Price ceilings are limits imposed on the price of a product, service, or commodity to protect consumers from prohibitively expensive items. These limits are usually imposed by the government but can also be set in the resale price maintenance (RPM) agreement between a product manufacturer and its distributors. 

Bye-Now Effect

The bye-now effect describes the tendency for consumers to think of the word “buy” when they read the word “bye”. In a study that tracked diners at a name-your-own-price restaurant, each diner was asked to read one of two phrases before ordering their meal. The first phrase, “so long”, resulted in diners paying an average of $32 per meal. But when diners recited the phrase “bye bye” before ordering, the average price per meal rose to $45.

Anchoring Effect

The anchoring effect describes the human tendency to rely on an initial piece of information (the “anchor”) to make subsequent judgments or decisions. Price anchoring, then, is the process of establishing a price point that customers can reference when making a buying decision.

Pricing Setter

A price maker is a player who sets the price, independently from what the market does. The price setter is the firm with the influence, market power, and differentiation to be able to set the price for the whole market, thus charging more and yet still driving substantial sales without losing market shares.

Read Next: Pricing Strategy.

Connected Business Concepts

Revenue Modeling

Revenue model patterns are a way for companies to monetize their business models. A revenue model pattern is a crucial building block of a business model because it informs how the company will generate short-term financial resources to invest back into the business. Thus, the way a company makes money will also influence its overall business model.

Dynamic Pricing


Geographical Pricing

Geographical pricing is the process of adjusting the sale price of a product or service according to the location of the buyer. Therefore, geographical pricing is a strategy where the business adjusts the sale price of an item according to the geographic region where the item is sold. The strategy helps the business maximize revenue by reducing the cost of transporting goods to different markets. However, geographical pricing can also be used to create an impression of regional scarcity, novelty, or prestige. 

Price Sensitivity

Price sensitivity can be explained using the price elasticity of demand, a concept in economics that measures the variation in product demand as the price of the product itself varies. In consumer behavior, price sensitivity describes and measures fluctuations in product demand as the price of that product changes.

Price Ceiling

A price ceiling is a price control or limit on how high a price can be charged for a product, service, or commodity. Price ceilings are limits imposed on the price of a product, service, or commodity to protect consumers from prohibitively expensive items. These limits are usually imposed by the government but can also be set in the resale price maintenance (RPM) agreement between a product manufacturer and its distributors. 

Price Elasticity

Price elasticity measures the responsiveness of the quantity demanded or supplied of a good to a change in its price. It can be described as elastic, where consumers are responsive to price changes, or inelastic, where consumers are less responsive to price changes. Price elasticity, therefore, is a measure of how consumers react to the price of products and services.

Economies of Scale

In Economics, Economies of Scale is a theory for which, as companies grow, they gain cost advantages. More precisely, companies manage to benefit from these cost advantages as they grow, due to increased efficiency in production. Thus, as companies scale and increase production, a subsequent decrease in the costs associated with it will help the organization scale further.

Diseconomies of Scale

In Economics, a Diseconomy of Scale happens when a company has grown so large that its costs per unit will start to increase. Thus, losing the benefits of scale. That can happen due to several factors arising as a company scales. From coordination issues to management inefficiencies and lack of proper communication flows.

Network Effects

network effect is a phenomenon in which as more people or users join a platform, the more the value of the service offered by the platform improves for those joining afterward.

Negative Network Effects

In a negative network effect as the network grows in usage or scale, the value of the platform might shrink. In platform business models network effects help the platform become more valuable for the next user joining. In negative network effects (congestion or pollution) reduce the value of the platform for the next user joining. 

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