Way back in Apple’s past, when money was tight, market share was none-existent, mind-share even less, the Apple-faithful and the wider tech-press looked to Apple for a solution to their woes.
Just what was Steve Jobs and Apple going to do to stop the downward spiral?
Steve’s answer surprised everyone, and in hindsight it’s the approach that has, in part, turned the company around, and secured their future – Steve Jobs said:
“For Apple to win, Microsoft doesn’t have to lose.”
Most of the Apple faithful balked at this comment, did they here that right? What was Steve Jobs on? Did he really know what he was doing? Surely Microsoft has to be crushed, stamped upon and erased from history so that Apple can ‘win’.
But Steve was right. One of the problems with Apple, was that they were obsessed with Microsoft, and it damaged everything they did, every effort, every promotion was measured against the impossible goal of toppling a giant.
What Steve Jobs did is refocused the company, allowed them to say to themselves, “it’s perfectly OK to have a small market share, there is room in this industry for everyone.” With that approach Apple could concentrate on what they were good at, and measure their success against their own watermark, not somebody elses.
Which brings us back to Ballmer. Wouldn’t it just be a breath of fresh air if Ballmer said:
“We don’t worry about Google – we relish competition, and there’s room in this industry for everyone. We don’t have to win all the time.”
I think the whole tech industry would breath a sigh of relief that at last, Microsoft was happy with it’s lot and concentrated on creating great products for us all.