Sunday, October 9, 2011

A lesson from Apple and Microsoft

In the AllThingsD interview, Bill Gates spoke about how he put his bets on his belief that the GUI based interface was going to take over the character based interface for PCs during 1980s. Similarly, Steve Jobs, after his comeback at Apple, saw the futility of competing with Microsoft on PC business and invented new areas of innovation beginning with music and ipod.

In both these cases, these leaders took a long ( and perhaps risky ) position on the opportunities  and invested in their belief much before any of the other companies did. I believe that the reason both Apple and Microsoft have been successful is that the bets these companies took for what would work in future turned out to be right. When their view of future did not turn out to be right, or if they were late in responding to the trend, they struggled. For example, after the windows and office success, Microsoft did not take similar long term view of internet and hence it was no longer an innovator on internet and web technologies.

I would argue that the lesson in strategy here is that to become wildly successful, you need to have a view on where things are going in future and put your money in those areas. Assuming that the execution is correct, if your view seemed is right, it will result in windfall, otherwise it is tough luck.

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