So right now, Google is rekindling the fires of wicked competition in Microsoft. Microsoft's response to Google was the focus of questions and angst during the Microsoft Company Meeting. We recently held an MSN Search Champs evangelical NDA meeting to start sowing the seeds of nodding consensus for when we manage to start shipping our search solutions.
But what if we went and partnered with Google?
Or at least, stepped back, slapped them on their corporate butt, and said, "Alright then, go get 'em, Tiger! Tell us what you need."
I was ambling through the forest recently thinking about this, especially given Dare's comment to the Googl e Desktop post:
Responses like this is why Microsoft will continue to engage in misguided efforts. I don't see why the fact Google is actually fixing our crappy OS search feature is taken as competition instead of symbiosis. After the billions of dollars the company spent on IE (I'm including lawsuit payouts) does the fact that the Web browser most people use is named "Internet Explorer" not "Netscape Navigator" really make a multi-billion dollar difference our bottom line? Here we go again...
What if BillG called up the Google Boys and said, "Let's work together." Eh-yeah, I don't see that happening either. However, I know people who work at Google now (in the past few months especially!). You probably know folks who work there, too. Right now we're at a fork in the road as to how we'll respond to Google, and one way is to team up with them for something productive that will benefit our users big-time.
Should we take the reigns of this relationship into our own hands and say, "No!" to frenzied We-can-do-better-Now-that-we-see-What-we-must-do'ism? Do any of you remember the Marc Andreessen photocopies with his dork-ass quotes plastered around the IE hallways back in the 1990s? That "motivational" atmosphere wasn't too cool. Let's not repeat that. Great software is not forged out of pissed-off anger and fear.
I'm going to drop some emails off over the next few weeks, asking my Nooglers how Microsoft can do better to support Google and try to sow some different seeds.
(And all of this jives nicely with my deepest desire: one reason we can compete with such blood-thirsty frenzy right now is that we have way too many employees. Most are under-utilized in money loosing endeavors. But, when a building threat like this arises they are just resources repositioned with new competitive goals. If we had less people underutilized that were so easily redeployed, we would be a leaner, meaner, and smarter organization. We would also develop strategic alliances and not feel that Microsoft had to do it all in one big entangled, mediocre mess.)