Like Tim, I have been wondering about Microsoft’s pursuit of Yahoo, and more importantly, its desire to “kill google”. I mean nobody thinks Microsoft would give Yahoo a second glance were it not for the spectre of GOOG in the background, do they?
It seems to me that Microsoft’s most important competitor is Apple, not Google. Google’s revenues don’t actually hurt Microsoft, they just grow Google. But if Microsoft wasn’t fully aware of just bad its core business is hurting after it announced revenues fell 24% year over year, last week’s news from eWeek should serve as another glass of water on the head on the pillow. While Microsoft is dreaming sweet dreams of out-searching Google, Apple has taken 2/3 of the $1000+ PC market.
Arguably Microsoft needs to compete against Google to drive its share price up, but fundamentals are surely far more important. Protect the franchise, guys. Its very important that Microsoft focuses on delivering better user experiences, rather than just trying to be best Google. From that perspective the real wake-up call should have been Vista. Microsoft needs to fix the problems it has, not the problems it would like to have.
I want to make it very clear here that I do think Microsoft is doing a lot of things very well at the moment – its server business for example, is going from strength to strength – but competing against Apple isn’t one of them. I still find it very hard to believe for example that Microsoft now apparently has poorer driver support than Linux or Apple. What used to be differentiators are now drags. Get back to basics would be my advice, and ask yourself – where do you want to go today?
disclosure: Microsoft is a client. I currently run XP, but the plan is to move over to Open-Solaris as a primary laptop OS for a while.