Virulent Word of Mouse

February 11, 2010

The Next Chapter at Google

Once upon a time, a couple of smart fellows perceived a technological and business opportunity. They founded a firm, leaving academic programs. They worked hard, caught a break, and began living an economic fairy tale. Their new company grew, making profits every year, even during difficult economic times. The firm hired with abandon, taking its pick from among the best talent.

After a dozen years, the firm’s hallways overflowed with a lively entrepreneurial spirit. Seasoned executives and sophisticated technical staff had ample cash to explore almost every ambitious idea.  For the next dozen years, the firm’s managers aspired to undertake something audacious and ambitious—to build the most innovative firm of all time.

Who does this economic fairy tale describe? It describes two firms: Google in 2010 and, by ticklish coincidence, Microsoft almost 20 years earlier.

Can history repeat itself? Surely not. Past events at Microsoft cannot forecast with precision what Google will do tomorrow.

It is tempting to scratch this itch, nonetheless. Comparing two leading firms at the crest of their teen years could generate insights into why (and how) Google’s fairy tale might or might not reach a happy ending. (more…)

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