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Microsoft’s Market Research

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In 2003, Microsoft Corporation commissioned Forrester Research, Inc., to conduct a study to measure the potential market of people in the United States who are most likely to benefit from the use of accessible technology for computers. Accessible technology enables individuals to adjust their computers to meet their visual, hearing, dexterity, cognitive, and speech needs. It includes both accessibility options built into products as well as specialty hardware and software products (assistive technology products) that help individuals interact with a computer.

This marketing research report identified there is an increasing need for accessible technology to allow individuals to customize their computers to help overcome physical and cognitive difficulties and impairments. In the United States, 60% (101.4 million) of working-age adults who range from 18 to 64 years old are likely, or very likely, to benefit from the use of accessible technology due to difficulties and impairments that may impact computer use.

On 30 November, Windows Vista was introduced to corporate customers. The product, along with other functionality, includes built-in accessibility settings and programs that make it easier for computer users to see, hear, and use their computers. Microsoft invested more than three years of research to better understand the needs of people who experience a wide range of physical challenges that can impact their computer use. The accessibility settings and programs in Windows Vista are particularly helpful to people with visual difficulties, hearing loss, pain in their hands or arms, or reasoning and cognitive issues.

Major accessibility improvements in Windows Vista are the Ease of Access center and state-of-the-art speech recognition and magnification capabilities.

Companies can learn from Microsoft’s experience to enlist the assistance of market research firms to understand potential consumer and business markets. The primary and secondary market research will help Companies to design product and services to strengthen market positioning.

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YouSigma. (2008). “Microsoft’s Market Research." From http://www.yousigma.com.

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