Recently we’ve been hearing that more and more. The companies being targeted usually assume they’ve being singled out for special attention from Microsoft, but when you add up all the reports a different picture emerges. What is not new is that Microsoft sees you as nothing but a bucket of money to them. What is new is that Microsoft is targeting almost every major tech company, all at once. This is a fairly new behavior for Microsoft, and it means the rules of competing with Redmond have changed as well.
Change in Strategy: Sectors not Single Competitors
Not so many years ago, Microsoft was famous for its ability to focus on one unifying goal. The cry would go out: “Make Windows the dominant OS,” or “Make Internet Explorer the dominant browser,” and the company would rally around that cry.
Today, the threats to Microsoft are different. The famous “Internet Services Disruption” memo written last October by Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie is notable because it attempted to focus the company against an entire sector of the tech industry, rather than against a single competitor or product.
Growth is a Challenge for Microsoft
Microsoft is now so large that it’s much more difficult to grow rapidly. To hit its goals, the company needs about $4 billion in new revenue every year. That’s why Microsoft is targeting so many different competitors — the logic of growth transforms Microsoft from a focused competitor into a machine that methodically tries to suck money out of any successful corner of high tech. If you have a successful franchise and haven’t been targeted yet, just wait — your turn will come.
If you have a successful tech business, Microsoft is coming. The question is not if, but when. It is important to remember, that Microsoft entering your market does not have to be a death sentence for your company. Other companies have fought back against Microsoft and won. Success requires a deep understanding of the stakes, knowledge of how Microsoft operates, and the vision to change the playing field.
They’re not Invincible
If you’re willing to change your business before the threat becomes critical, and if you use the right tactics, an assault from Microsoft doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Just remember that Microsoft excels at destroying companies that sit still and allow themselves to be targets. – MM
Call us. We can share additional examples of companies that have gone toe-to-toe with the Beast from Redmond and lived to talk about it.
This article was derived from a two-part series originally published in Soft-Letter. A longer version of this article that includes examples of companies that successfully defended against Microsoft is this link.