There has been news in a number of media platforms on how Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) set to begin massive cross-discipline agency review of its marketing business costing $1.3 billion. According to sources familiar with the matter, the move is aimed at finding the best company solution to hold for a longer period of time.
The world wide pitch is likely set to cover major disciplines such as creative, media and digital. Requests for a direct comment from a spokeswoman from Microsoft were not successful since she declined to talk about the described plans. She however insisted on their duty to evaluate their agency mix as one of the best practices of their business to ensure they retain the services that fit within their evolving business. Plans for cross-discipline agency come six months after Tami Reller and Mark Penn both from Microsoft took over the new and centralized marketing group. At the same time, the company is still planning on how to find a replacement for Steve Ballmer for the CEO post.
The players likely to participate in the review include Public is and WPP Groupe. The two groups are already quoted to support the bulk of the Company’s business. The various elements involved in Microsoft marketing are also supported by Interpublic Group. Omnicom, one of the major competitors of Apple is therefore likely to steer clear.
However, if the merger between Publicis and Omnicom is approved the two groups will be part of one family. Over the past two years, Publicis’ has displayed substantial growth in the Microsoft business. The work span in the shop include digital creative and media buying across Xbox, Windows, Bing, Surface, Microsoft retail and Office. Starcom Media Vest Group also has a large business share at Publicis and majorly concentrates on media planning and buying.
The data and marketing giants WPP also handle a number of marketing tasks for Microsoft and have been in close partnership for over a decade. Interpublic Group was one of the top partners with Microsoft in the past years but its shops now seem to be losing a number of their networks.
Microsoft also works with several additional shops that cover all the disciplines and brands. According to some of the agency executives with current information on Microsoft business, some of the agencies working closely with the company had a substantial slashing on their retainers and fees. Microsoft also appeared to have paired most of their agency roster in the last year and most of the agencies that remained were left wondering about their ties with the company.