Gates/Ozzie Challenge Microsoft to “Alter Its Business” – Birthday Memo

Another leaked memo from Microsoft (Dave has posted the full emails here). “This coming 'services wave' will be very disruptive,” Gates said in an Oct. 30 e-mail to top Microsoft employees. “We have competitors who will seize on these approaches and challenge us.” The service wave has been coming for a while, it's all part of the ever popular Web2.0 meme. Microsoft once again finds itself waking up late to the party and realizing that they've been left behind. A day late, but never a dollar short. On the bright side for them, they aren't as late to this party as they've been for some others. However, unlike some previous occasions, they won't really be able to leverage their desktop monopoly in this case – at least not to the degree they have in others. Google transcends the OS. Beyond that, though, it's tuned into a verb… it has mindshare. While Microsoft can throw a huge amount of eyeballs at their offering, that doesn't always help. Take the auction space for instance. Amazon and Yahoo! throw huge amount of eyeballs at their respective offerings, but neither has put a dent in eBay. Like Google, eBay has mindshare in their space. Microsoft has proven to always be a worthy adversary, but outside the desktop and related areas they don't always win. The Xbox is still a loser to the PlayStation, MS-based MP3 players are losing big time to the iPod, Windows-based phone aren't what Microsoft hoped – you get the idea. Unlike say Netscape, from the past, I think Google is in this one for the long haul and is positioned well to hold its own. Scoble, who you have to think has had some influence on this thinking (be it directly or indirectly) is still reeling from the memos. It should be interesting to read what he has to stay when he stops reeling. This should be a battle the like of which the space hasn't seen in years. In the end, the consumer will be the ones who benefits from the competition. Should be a fun ride.
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–jeremy

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One Response to Gates/Ozzie Challenge Microsoft to “Alter Its Business” – Birthday Memo

  1. Anonymous says:

    So it would seem like Microsoft has realized they are not the cutting edge. That is a big admission. The way I see it Microsoft has two choices: they can continue to turn out well-polished “seamless” software that appeals to the masses, or they can abandon trying to be all things to all people and head down that lonely path looking for the next “killer app”, in whatever form it takes. To do both would be very difficult.
    Microsoft is a very big company, and they aren't as nimble as the little start-ups from whence all this Google trouble has arrisen. So what are they asking their employees to do? Stop innovation from happening elsewhere? Those poor Microsoft employees! Not only are they fighting on two fronts, but they are shooting at moving targets as well. Not only do they have to keep their eyes on the horizon for every new technology that comes into being, but they have to keep their products simple and “seemless”. Am I wrong, or is there a hint of desperation in it? I cannot help but detect a little pressure being put on them by their chiefs.
    If I were an enterpreneur (which I'm not), why would I be interested in creating or inventing something with an operating system that has been dumbed down to make it appeal to the masses? Windows is for ordinary folks, not rocket scientists! As Jeremy said, there is a price to be paid for acceptance, and Microsoft has paid that price. The price is being paid with all these delays to their new OS.

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