With relation to Eric Schmidt having exclaimed that Microsoft Bing is Google’s biggest threat, The “Seattle Times” posted an interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. While the interview covered a number of topics, some of them are definitely worth highlighting.
Microsoft has been accused of stealing Apple’s ideas in the past, like when creating a desktop Graphical User Interface (GUI) as opposed to the then-traditional black screen. In an interesting twist, Steve Ballmer is now complimenting Google for copying Microsoft! In his own words:
“They’re [Google] starting to look at the stuff we’re doing and copying it back… Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
He also points out that his maps and images are better than Google’s, their picture is different, etc. Not only that, because Google’s so huge, they can’t innovate like Microsoft! They need to imitate rather than innovate at this stage.
“Our maps are better, our images our better, our picture is different. And Google keeps responding… because we have lower share, it’s almost easier for us to try new things. They have to sort of stay conservative… If they change anything, maybe people won’t click on their ad the right way. Boom, boom, boom, boom, we’re just moving, floating, differentiating.”
I find Steve Ballmer’s points to be somewhat bold and bordering on ridiculous. Google comes out with new things all the time, and they’re not afraid to share their wealth with other developers. For starters, Google has created “Google Instant,” which by far optimizes daily searches. As far as maps go, while Bing Maps has some cool features like finding out the traffic in a given location, Google provides Maps API documentation for developers to build on. Plus, as one types, suggestions pop up, significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to type in a query. With open-source code, Google features the “summer of code” year in and year out, where young developers add code to code.google.com for other developers to download, use and enjoy.
Besides, in terms of “Point of Entry,” Google has already beat Microsoft to the punch, having completed their innovation techniques years before Microsoft “woke up.”
Honestly, would you take a guy that sold Windows like used cars seriously? Here’s him in action selling Windows 1.0 in 1985:
By the way, having said all of the above, I simply cannot deny that Steve Ballmer is a marketing genius.