What many predicted would happen has come true – Microsoft are shutting down their legal vertical sales and marketing operation.
This morning Microsoft made the following statement: “Microsoft are closing its entire Legal & Professional Services sales team effective immediately. Aside from some resources on our services consulting organization, there will no longer be any individuals in the company dedicated to the sector.”
The vast majority of law firms have used Microsoft solutions for document production and email for many years now. More recently, after a brief flirt with CRM, Microsoft appeared to make a slightly more significant impact with SharePoint, firstly as an Intranet tool and more recently as a Document Management platform. Perhaps most interesting of all (and previously thought to be an indication of intent) is the collaboration with Lexis Nexis to deliver a legal specific Practice Management System.
For many Microsoft were for the first time seeming to take an interest in the business end of what a law firm does, for others the whole ‘will they, wont they’ CRM debacle of the previous 5 or so years was enough to question why they would ever focus on a small vertical with, in Microsoft terms, a limited return.
The glass half full position is that this is a temporary, cost cutting reorganisation exercise. The glass half empty position: Legal – too fussy, too complicated, too small, not enough dollar.
For now at least, it seems Microsoft’s flirtation and brief marraige with legal has started divorce proceedings.