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fake steve jobs on the growing irrelevance of microsoft

October 20, 2009

I’ve been enjoying Dan Lyons’ media analysis of last Sunday’s NYT hit piece on Microsoft. Today’s post is quality, and even contains a nice little summary of how Microsoft got itself into this position:

But what happened after that? This is what we were wondering. Larry says two things happened. One, the Borg got slower. They got big and fat and bureaucratic. Two, everyone else got faster. Look at Google. They got so big so quickly that there was no way for the Borg to claw them back. Same for all these other Web businesses. Amazon, Ebay, Skype, Facebook, Twitter. They came out of nowhere, and what they were doing was free, so the Borg couldn’t just do a crappy knockoff and sell it for less. They were up against free — the Web companies were using their own strategy against them.

Another difference was the customer set. In the old days you were talking about selling to corporate America, and consumers just followed suit — remember the marketing shit about how you want the same stuff at home that you have at the office? Selling to corporates was easy. You have lots of levers you can pull to make them do what you want and pay what you tell them to. We all had a playbook — we just studied what IBM had been doing for decades, and we copied them. (Larry stopped and chuckled a little bit when he said this, and for a moment just stared out the window with this glazed, happy expression on his face.) The Borg’s other customer set were hardware OEMs. Again, easy to coerce, and no messy dealing with end users. Perfect.

But on the Web things changed — now you were selling to consumers, and the Borg had no way to coerce or control consumers the way they could coerce corporate accounts.

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