It’s easy to be impressed (or horrified) by big numbers, and 1.2 billion is certainly a big number when it comes to dollars.
That’s what Microsoft spent on advertising last year. Apple by contrast spent $486M (as Lindsay Blakely reported).
But forget the actual dollars, instead focus on percentages. As Todd Bishop helpfully points out in his excellent analysis, Microsoft spend between 2% and 3% of their revenue on advertising (Apple is a little less).
Seems about right to me. For example, if I had a company pulling in $1M a year, I reckon I’d be happy to spend $20K – $30K on advertising – with the aim of course of making that back via increased revenue the following year.