[Full-disclosure] [Fwd: MM - #$%@ Kill Google!]
From: Jason Coombs (jasonc_at_science.org)
Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2005 10:19:45 -1000 To: Full-Disclosure <email@example.com>
When will somebody get around to the important job of killing Microsoft?
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: MM - +ACMAJAAlAEA- Kill Google!
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 18:58:17 UT
From: Michael Robertson<info+AEA-michaelrobertson.com>
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+ACMAJAAlAEA- Kill Google!
/September 8, 2005
/An intriguing but eventually vicious three-way battle is emerging
between Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google for net supremacy. How each is
dealing with the competitive threat says a lot about their individual
company culture, management and DNA. (If you're wondering why I didn't
include AOL, it's because their business seems to be moving in the wrong
direction, rapidly atrophying with nearly 900,000 fewer subscribers last
Microsoft has recently made a concerted effort to hire even-keeled,
friendly liaisons within the community, giving them the authority to
speak for the company and the authorization to pay off those that might
speak negatively of Microsoft. Behind the scenes, however, it's still
the same team running the show - management that has been twice
convicted of illegal actions against competitors, and that sports a
stunning lack of ethical boundaries. Recent court documents from a fresh
legal battle over an employee jumping ship to Google report Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer throwing chairs and screaming many unprintable words,
capped off with, +IDM-I'm going to +ACUAJAAjAEA- kill Google!+IDM-
The only way Microsoft knows how to operate is with an enemy in their
crosshairs. A few years back, Linspire (then Lindows) was the recipient
of Ballmer's profanity-laden tirades. But Microsoft's attention has
since been somewhat diverted from the ambiguous threat of Linux - which
doesn't present a singular target - to Google, whose O's make convenient
Look for Microsoft to employ the same approach they have used
historically to fight competitors. First they will use technology
barriers within new versions of their operating system to dramatically
favor their own products and discredit competitors. With previous
competitor DR DOS, they embedded intentional incompatibilities, spurious
error messages and bogus issues of compatibility
With Netscape, they deeply embedded their own products and falsely
claimed they could not be removed. Expect much of the same with Vista,
their newest OS.
In addition, look for exclusionary contracts that preclude computer
manufacturers from pre-installing links and software from Yahoo! and
Google on PCs they sell. With the same unethical management in place, a
legal process that takes years to litigate, and inevitable legal
penalties only representing a tiny fraction of profits, you'd be crazy
not to expect Microsoft to extend the same behavior you've seen over the
last two decades into the next.
Boxed in by the brainiacs at Google and the massive distribution and
questionable ethics of Microsoft, Yahoo! would seem to be at a slight
disadvantage in the net supremacy game. However, Yahoo!'s management has
matured at a remarkable rate and has an acute awareness of the behemoths
they must operate against.
Yahoo! has taken a unique strategy to track movements of competitors.
Employees are asked to submit tidbits of information they hear to
management, and the company coalesces these nuggets of knowledge into a
more comprehensive documents, which are then circulated more widely to
help employees understand possible moves Microsoft and Google might
make. Because they are often competing for the same talent, working with
same suppliers, and receiving visits from the same companies, this +IDM-due
diligence+IDM- is remarkably accurate. Yahoo! often takes meetings with
companies they have no interest in doing business with just to scrape
them for data about the industry and what Google or Microsoft might be
up to. It's rare when Yahoo! isn't aware well in advance of moves made
by Microsoft, or especially those made by their Bay Area neighbor Google.
Just knowing where your competitors are going isn't enough, of course:
you still need to compete. Yahoo! is combining Internet-based services
and media like nobody else. (Watch for an amazing rich web interface for
Yahoo! mail that has Silicon Valley buzzing.) They've even rented the
massive MGM office in Los Angeles, which gives them several hundred
thousand square feet of office space to house executives moving down the
coast to be close to Hollywood.
The youngest company of the bunch lacks the ferocity of Microsoft and
the process of Yahoo!, but is maturing quickly. Astonishingly, three
years ago some at Google believed Microsoft wouldn't be interested in
their business. That naivet+AOk- was undoubtedly erased when Microsoft
announced intentions to directly compete with their MSN search engine.
Google is much more focused on continuing to innovate rather than
religiously tracking Yahoo! and Microsoft and countering their moves.
They do have an internal +IDM-industry+IDM- mailing list where noteworthy news
articles are distributed internally, but nothing as formal as Yahoo! or
Microsoft has. Screenshots of the early versions of Vista were
circulated on this list, heightening the awareness of the power
Microsoft has to impede Google on the desktop.
What Google has done is open a local office right in Microsoft's
backyard of Kirkland, Washington, to recruit talent. To date, they have
convinced more than 100 employees to leave Microsoft and jump to Google,
and virtually none have migrated in the other direction. Microsoft is
fighting back and sued Google over one of those recruits. It is that
lawsuit that revealed Ballmer's tantrum towards Google.
It's impossible to predict who will ultimately prevail in the battle for
the net. You can expect some nasty-but-effective tactics from Microsoft
(with legal apologies and payouts years in the future). I expect Yahoo!
to continue to forge media relations, which they will then leverage to
build some exclusive products and services to offer their subscribers.
And from Google, look for loads of experimentation and innovation in a
wide range of areas seeking that next major profitable opportunity
beyond the search engine.
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