Monday, February 16, 2009

Envy

For many years Microsoft was a very successful business. It continued to experience stunning growth year on year. Then it reached middle age and discovered that it was under threat from all these new comers. So what was its response?

 

Firstly, it decided that it wanted to be like Sony so it brought out the Xbox in competition to the Playstation. Having not completely succeeded there it then decided that it wanted to be like Google by creating on line maps, Live Search, host applications and so on. Having even less success there it now decided that it wanted to be like Apple so it brought out the Zune as a competitor to the iPod. And this list goes on.

 

In its craze to be everything, except Microsoft, it has decided it will now open retail stores as this story highlights. Aside from the obvious Apple envy once again most people are scratching their heads and asking why? Especially in these economic times. Why?

 

Now I’m sure there is a really valid reason and it may or may not be successful but it certainly seems to me that Microsoft is spending far too much time trying to be things that it isn’t. That has led, I believe, to it falling down on things it should be (like making better desktop operating systems i.e. Vista). It’s hard enough to lead one life let along try and lead two!

 

There are things that Microsoft do real well. There are things that it can also do well that are extensions of these. However, diving into totally unrelated markets just because it can doesn’t mean it should. In the early day Microsoft could dominate the market and take the lion’s share but those days are gone. It doesn’t make sense to me spreading your resources as thinly as Microsoft must be doing to keep all these balls in the air.

 

The motto should be how to make things simpler, not how can I be like every other Tom, Dick and Harry in the business.