Competing With Microsoft By Ignoring Them

from the so-that's-how-you-do-it... dept

One thing that you always hear among new startup companies looking for venture capital is figuring out how they’re going to avoid competing with Microsoft. Obviously, it’s not true of all startups – some of whom are in completely different areas. However, any software (and many services) company always gets the question “well, how will you deal with it when Microsoft enters your space?” Companies that don’t have a good answer don’t get funded. Robert Cringely’s latest column is all about the best way to compete with Microsoft – and it’s a bit counterintuitive, but it makes a lot of sense. The companies that have successfully competed with Microsoft have done so by not worrying about Microsoft. In other words, they’ve been focused on building innovative products that their customers can use. Microsoft, for all its strong points, doesn’t have the greatest track record at actually innovating (I can already hear some of you scoffing). What they are good at (and, you have to admit, they are good at it) is taking innovative ideas that others have come up with, and then putting a nice, user friendly interface on them and getting it out in the market. So, as Cringely points out, when you decide to turn and face Microsoft and compete directly with them, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble – because you’ve set the rules of the game on their terms, and they’ve got a lot more money and experience to beat anyone else on those terms. Instead, by pretty much ignoring Microsoft, and coming up with new and innovative products companies can out-innovate them, and not face real competition from them.

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Comments on “Competing With Microsoft By Ignoring Them”

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aNonMooseCowherd says:

Microsoft and innovation

Microsoft, for all it’s [sic] strong points, doesn’t have the greatest track record at actually innovating (I can already hear some of you scoffing).

Microsoft’s only real innovation is in manipulating the legal system. I’m surprised they haven’t outsourced all their software development to some more competent company. If they did that, they could devote all their effort to abusing the legal system.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Actually I think you’re giving them too much credit for ‘putting a nice interface’ on it. Typically, the interface isn’t that great.

What they do better than anyone else, because they can, is make a product work VERY WELL with their operating system (which resides in 90 – 98% of the households), and installing it by default. Most users will use the ‘default’ either because they don’t know better or ‘because it works’.

It’s the product tying that is at the heart of most cases being brought against them.

AMetamorphosis says:

Re: No Subject Given

” Most users will use the ‘default’ either because they don’t know better or ‘because it works’. “

So Microsoft makes thing work.
What is wrong with that ?

Perhaps the vast majority of people use Microsoft products because most of the time they DO work and they are fairly simple to use. Anyone who thinks they can do a better job is free to ” build a better mouse trap “.

Bill bashing is so pass?’

thecaptain says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

“So Microsoft makes thing work(sic)”?

That depends on what you mean by “work”. If you mean it allows you to dive right in and be flooded with spyware and viruses, and allows your most private information to be stolen unless you watch it like a hawk and spend a ton of time learning what the dangers are (so you can counteract them..because Microsoft does a piss poor job of doing that themselves) …

..then yeah…I guess you can say they work…using that definition, IE and Outlook work REALLY well in fact.

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