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more on MS and open source


A News.com article with more comments on the behavior of Microsoft towards open-source and other "platform threats" in general, noting the Stutz memo I linked to earlier. One comment in the article stands out:

Milunovich took an even harsher view, questioning whether Microsoft was truly innovative. "It's not surprising that a technical person would make this observation," he wrote in his research note. "Microsoft has innovated little, however, and owes its success to luck--IBM handing over the PC OS--and managerial excellence in our view. Still, we agree that Microsoft must notch up the innovation component to do well in new areas."
I don't think that Microsoft can suddenly "learn" to innovate. From the beginning, it has been a late-comer, either buying up the competition or copying it. It is a strategy that has served them well, and I doubt that at this point something so ingrained in their organization can really change. Even if it could, MS's focus on "Windows everywhere" puts forth a huge roadblock for innovation. Most if not all new software technologies worth mentioning threaten in one way or another the platform, either from the point of view of replacement (as Netscape and the Web did in its time) or from the point of view of commoditization (as Linux is doing). Microsoft is trapped in what Clayton Christensen called "The Innovator's Dilemma" in his (excellent) book of the same name, from the incumbent's point of view. None of this means that its power or astonishing margins will necessarilly diminish, certainly not in the short run. Microsoft has a monopoly, and it could be milking it for many years to come.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on February 20 2003 at 12:26 AM

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