« Does Microsoft invest, partner or acquire? | Main | Innovate or Imitate...Fame or Fortune? »

October 10, 2005



That link to the Microsoft page only shows 2003 and back and that doesn't look right. Even if you click to the nav and go to 2005, you only get the old ones.

Is there an up to date page somewhere?

Interesting blog point too. I wouldn't have thought that people were so important since thtey have a fat pipe to good people and since people who start good businesses are often entrepreneurial anyway. Of course that spirit is good, but they don't often hang around long - they get itchy feet. And as a serial (pun intended) entrepreneur, I wouldn't see Microsoft as a melting pot of innovation.


Very nice


What about Firefly? That was a great company - propably the first start up with the concept of web communities and it started the whole concept of agents, and methods of suggesting products similar to those of your friends or people of same interests.

That was an interesting company which dissappeared into the Microsoft machine - leaving as the only souvenir the Passport concept (Firefly was the first to introduce that - and bn.com was their first site to support it).


Firefly was a great idea/company. Collaborative Filtering was ahead of its time then, but it seems appropriate now.

There are several new search engine start-ups using collaborative filtering to generate better results. I saw a tiny company named Jookster last week that does exactly this. Very interesting.


So the key question is this: I have a cool idea for a new product. I know that Microsoft can replicate that product about as quickly as I can develop it (I have a slightly better and more agile technology team, but Microsoft has a decent bit of the technology already in place). I know that if Microsoft were to develop it, they'd make hundreds of millions on it. If I were to develop it, and Microsoft was to not follow, I'd probably make tens of millions. But, in the most likely case, I'd develop it, and then Microsoft would replicate it and crush me, and I'd come out broke. How does one build a business model in this scenerio? Microsoft would save maybe a year's time if they were to acquire me, and get a few good engineers, but since we both knew that they could crush me, they'd probably offer me a pretty lousy deal.... (this is about a real product I am contemplating developing)


There are lots of companies that have built very nice businesses by adding value on top of Microsoft products. In fact, there are thousands of partner companies that we work with, and recommend to customers, who do just this.

Sometimes the product groups will come out with a similar product or service but it is typically years later, and typically more broadly focused. Microsoft tends to stick to "platform" and "infrastructure" and not get very specialized on applications or services. There are also lots of companies that build "add-ins", or small features for existing Microsoft products.

In most cases smaller start-ups can release products to the market much faster than Microsoft can due to its size and userbase. Start-ups need to continue to innovate and add value. In fact, I wrote a blog on just this subject called "Ride the bear-innovate or be eaten alive". You can find it on the left side bar under "Best Posts".

Abhishek Sethi

This article brings forth a very valid point. I share the same concern of Peter. And why only microsoft.. there are get "aquired or perish" stories everywhere. Just that microsoft is in every field of software development, that the news items are more. Oracle, SAP and also follow the same practice. There will always be a big fish. I suggest forming a school of Piranhas while you are snall.. consortiums of small companies.. Japanese are known to have done this. They partner in innovation and even taking on competition as a single big company would. Part your ways later. A company doesn't require incubation only in its early days when its innovating, but also in the initial period when it ventures the rough waters.


good info.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter