Microsoft vs. Google

A great article on the online tussle between Microsoft and Google.

For anyone who has been watching Gates over the years, the idea that an upstart like Google could so flummox him and his fierce company takes getting used to. But Google is a rival unlike any he has faced in a long time. In previous battles, Microsoft always had a powerful trump card: It controlled the Windows operating system. That meant that when consumers bought a PC, Microsoft had a powerful say in what products and services they saw first. It had pricing power and distribution power over competitors. Because of that, its applications didn’t have to be superior to those of the competition—just roughly equal. Windows wasn’t better than the Macintosh; Word didn’t improve on WordPerfect, or Excel on Lotus. Even Explorer was only as good as Netscape. Microsoft’s genius was integrating them seamlessly to make them easier for customers to default to, and then using its marketing, distribution, and pricing clout. It won by attacking competitors’ business models, not their technology.

Microsoft’s array of weapons has so far proved next to useless against Google.

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