Tag Archives: Google

Microsoft Response to Google Gets an A

The most interesting aspect of the Google Apps and Cap Gemini announcement was not the announcement. It was Microsoft’s response. Regardless of your opinion of Microsoft’s products, this was world-class competitive positioning. Whoever wrote this deserves a raise:

  • Google touts having enterprise level customers but how many “USERS” of their applications truly exist within the enterprise?
  • Google’s primary focus is on ad funded search. Their enterprise focus and now apps exist on the very fringe…
  • Google’s apps only work if an enterprise has no power users…
  • Google’s tech support is open M-F 1AM-6PM PST – are these the new hours of global business?…
  • Google says that enterprise customers use only 10% of the features in today’s productivity applications which implies that EVERYONE needs the SAME 10%…

Now here’s what surprised me. It was not an official response. This was an internal response that was leaked. What a shame. I would like to think Microsoft is proud to produce this quality of a response to Google. I’m still impressed.

The Goggle announcement itself is terribly Ho-Hum. As fellow Enterprise Irregular Dennis Howlett pointed out on ZDnet, Cap Gemini is not a top 10 systems integrator in the US, where Google Apps have to be successful, if they ever will be. Also the desktop outsourcing business, which is what this announcement is about, is a bottom-feeder business with low margins. Why do you think Accenture concentrates on applications?

I would like to expect more from Google, but it’s not an enterprise software company, as Microsoft relishes in pointing out. Nevertheless, I would not underestimate what Google plans next.

One More Reason Paul Graham is Right: Microsoft is Dead

Paul Graham’s latest insightful and controversial essay declares Microsoft is Dead. Some people didn’t get it: it’s a metaphor. Microsoft is not going out of business anytime soon, but it is ceasing to matter in terms of the future of software.

Paul points out the four big reasons Microsoft is Dead: Google, Gmail, Broadband, and Apple. Open source is missing from this list. Open source is screwing with a lot of traditional software companies, not just Microsoft.

But there’s another reason: how people choose what marketing to believe. Microsoft represents the Old World of Marketing. In the New World, word of mouth, reputation, and trustworthy information matter more, particularly in technology.

Word of mouth trumps bad, expensive marketing. What marketing even reaches people? No one reads direct mail, solicitors waste their time cold calling or are legally prevented, DVRs eliminate TV ads, spam filters are serviceable, blocking popups is a default, and even Flash can be blocked on your browser. Advertising has a lot of heat on it because so little gets through.

What about Apple’s expensive marketing? There’s one fundamental difference between their’s and Microsoft’s. Microsoft’s sucks. Have you ever seen the Steve Jobs keynote introduction of the iPhone? Can you even imagine this out of Redmond?

If marketing is going to get through, it better be damn good, because expense will not ensure success. Witness the Microsoft “Wow” campaign. It is doomed for two reasons: bad marketing and product problems. Even brilliant marketing won’t save a bad product. Which brings me back to the power of word of mouth.

Robert Scoble started using a Mac recently. Ironically Robert told me when we were at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus. What does that have to do with Microsoft being Dead, you say?

Scoble is all about word of mouth. He is word of mouth. He has thousands of followers on Twitter who know when he installs this utility or that progran on his new Mac. In the tech world, he is the Big Dog if you measure the sheer Blizzard of Bits emanating from the man through his Scobleizer blog, the Scoble show, his tweets on Twitter, and God knows what the man produces via IM and email. It’s frightening. He is a self-fulfilling prophecy of the new tech world.

The point is: people listen to him because he is insightful and authentic. He has far more influence than “Wow” on a billboard, or another crappy Microsoft marketing campaign that cost a fortune. Microsoft doesn’t get word of mouth because it starts with great products.

Great products start with first experiences. Buy a Dell Windows computer and a Mac. Side-by-side, take them out of their box, turn them on, and set them up the way you want.

After a few hours with your new Dell and your new Mac, compare the time you spent answering pop-ups you didn’t want, turning off annoying reminder features, and getting your security software working non-intrusively. There is no security software on the Mac. With the Dell, there is a good chance you will never control the pop-ups because it takes patience, or an engineer friend. If you are converting your data from an older model to a new, then these first few hours are brilliantly simple with the Mac. The OS X utility for migrating data stuns people used to Windows.

I haven’t done this exercise with Vista, but five minutes with Vista was one of my Worst All-time Computer Experiences. Nor would I recommend you buy Vista yet until Microsoft sorts through the initial problems, some of which are dangerous.

The killer app of marketing today is word of mouth and reputation, and Microsoft has lost this game.

Why I Like Microsoft and Google

Schizophrenics, step forward. This one’s for you.

How in the world can one like the Evil Empire and Do No Evil? How could I like anything from Microsoft? Afterall, XP is one of the worst nightmares known to software. I was terribly gratified when visiting a customer at Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands last week that Shell has skipped XP entirely: still run 2000 and are waiting for Vista. Of course, waiting for Vista is another soap opera. But here’s the point…

Yes, at this moment – fleeting as it may be — I do like both Microsoft and Google. Why? Because they are about to commoditize wikis for the masses and educate another 10 – 50 million people on wikis. In rather different ways. Wikis, which without doubt are one of the two killer apps to emerge from Web 2.0 Wonderland, along with blogs, will be spread and will benefit from the massive marketing budgets and reach of the Evil Empire and Do No Evil.

Microsoft will do wikis in a Gray-Metal-Desk-Bad-Movie kind of way. What a surprise. The current version of Sharepoint’s wiki is frighteningly bad. Shockingly. But let’s be clear: we do not underestimate the power nor the unventilated warehouses full of programmers attacking from Redmond, Washington. Sharepoint’s wiki will improve.

Google, on the other hand, will do it in a Clean-Intuitive-But-What’s-the-
Business-Model? kind of way. That’s because they bought our buddies from JotSpot who we have always respected here at Atlassian. JotSpot looks great and has some neat features. But it’s a reasonable prediction that Google will target a mass market audience and not enterprise customers. If history is any indicator, it’s also reasonable to predict that the wiki will be in service of the search and advertising Money Machine. We have always liked Google, so we not only wish them and Jot well, but we think they will do a good job in their own style of World-Domination-that-Does-Not-Harm-Animals.

So you gotta love ’em. Microsoft and Google in the same breath. It’s a personal struggle, but wikis deserve the publicity.