Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Source of photo: online version of NYT article quoted and cited below.
The Microsoft-Google rivalry is shaping up as a titanic corporate clash for the ages.
It may not turn out that way. Markets and corporate fortunes routinely defy prediction. But it sure looks as if the two companies are on a collision course, as the realms of desktop computing and Internet services and software overlap more and more.
Microsoft, of course, is the reigning powerhouse of computing and Google is the muscular Internet challenger. On each side, the battalions are arrayed: executives, engineers, marketers, lawyers and lobbyists. The spending and competition are escalating daily. For each, it seems, the other passes what Andrew S. Grove, a founder and former chairman of Intel, calls the "silver bullet test" of strategic competition. "If you had one bullet, who would you shoot with it?"
How the Microsoft-Google confrontation plays out could shape the future of competition in computing and how people use information technology.
Do the pitched corporate battles of the past shed any light on how this one might turn out?
Business historians and management experts say the experience in two of the defining industries of the 20th century, mass-market retailing and automobiles, may well be instructive. The winners certainly scored higher in the generic virtues of business management: innovation, execution and leadership.
But perhaps even more significant, those who came out on top, judging from history, had two more specific attributes. They were the companies, according to business historians, that proved able to adapt to change instead of being prisoners of past success. And in their glory days, these corporate champions were magnets for the best and brightest people.
For the full story, see:
STEVE LOHR. "And in This Corner . . . Microsoft and Google Grapple for Supremacy as Stakes Escalate." The New York Times (Weds., May 10, 2006): C1 & C14.
Source of graphic: online version of NYT article quoted and cited above.