Aug 31st, 2009

google-microsoftThis could get ugly. In an article published by Daily Finance on Friday, the website (owned by AOL) shared knowledge of a Microsoft lobbyist campaign to smear Google into governmental perception oblivion. According to Daily Finance, insiders have given these regularly scheduled meetings a name… “Screw Google” meetings.

The group effectively trying to “Screw Google” is said to be composed of Microsoft employees, other Google competitors and hired 3rd parties:

“Microsoft is at the center of a group of companies who see Google as a threat to them in some combination of business and policy,” said a source familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity to avoid retribution. “The effort is designed make Google look like the big high-tech bad guy here.”

The meetings have occurred as frequently as once a week, sources with knowledge of the meetings say.

Daily Finance points out two particular public relations firms that Microsoft works with named Law Media Group and Glover Park Group. LMG declined to comment and GPG says they haven’t been involved in anything “Screw Google” related. But one source claims LMG isn’t so innocent:

“Law Media Group has several people who work full-time on Google-bashing. Everybody knows Microsoft is trying to throw roadblocks at Google and knock them off their game. Microsoft is trying to harm Google in the regulatory, legal, and litigation arenas because they’re having problems with Google in the competitive marketplace.”

Hold up, wait a minute (lemme put some Phandroid in it).

Before we continue shall we take a dive into the realistic side? Microsoft isn’t the only one engaging in these lobbying and policy conventions and practices whereby they attempt to sway and influence key decision makers. Every big business does it… including Google. Sad perhaps, but a fact of business. And it isn’t “sad” or “negative” by nature – your company has certain ideas and beliefs and obviously, as a company, it is in your best interest to tell people your side of the story to create a favorable climate for your products and services. We should at least TRY to be objective.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, their side of the story sucks. Their side of the story is that they dominated desktop software with Windows which they leveraged to also dominate desktop web browsing with Internet Explorer. They then watched Google waltz into the Search Engine space and less than a decade later Big G dominates with 70% search market share. In the past Microsoft execs have made comments claiming Google is more of an illusion than a business and Steve Ballmer himself screamed the words “I’m going to f*cking kill Google” as he hurled a chair across the room when speaking to a Microsoft engineer defecting to Google. Yes, that really happened… it is legally documented. So now Microsoft is trying to kill imaginary businesses? Yes… Google made them crazy.

android-chrome-osNow Google is leveraging their own success to enter new markets… think of how ubiquitous GMail and YouTube are and Android will become. And then there is Chrome… ahhhhh yes, Chrome. And better yet, Chrome OS. When Google announced Chrome OS it must have sent shivers down the backs of Microsoft Execs the world over. Because as much as they want to effing kill Google… they can’t.

So now they’re going by the old mantra, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Oh wait… slight correction, “If you can’t f*ck them, screw them.”

This “Screw Google” campaign took on a new life as soon as it was given that name. Suddenly something that probably happens every day in every industry by hundreds of different companies was sensationalized with a marketable name. But this name tells a much bigger story. It tells the story of Microsoft’s simultaneous decaying self-image and denial that their stranglehold on all things computer related is slipping… and fast.

Microsoft had a HUGE opportunity with Windows Mobile but the company absolutely FAILED to market it properly and even worse, squandered away valuable time they could have spent improving the software and making a compelling and superior product. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s market share in the mobile market is about to be gobbled up by Android and if you don’t believe me just ask HTC. But once again… Microsoft is delusional.

Microsoft must have been really angry when Google ran away with the growing search market. Mobile could be considered the #1 growth industry in tech and Google is about to run away with that as well. But worst of all… Google is about to kick Microsoft where it counts with Chrome OS, taking their innovation to netbooks and laptops and perhaps eventually desktop computers to challenge the very essence of Microsoft’s existence on their home turf.

Microsoft and Google are also gearing up for an intense showdown over the very future of the PC operating system. Google recently said it plans to introduce a new web-based operating system based on its Chrome browser (though to date, Chrome has barely dented Microsoft Internet Explorer’s lead in the browser market). Google’s fundamental strategy to shift the locus of computing onto in the Internet, and into “the cloud,” represents an ambitious assault on Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop-based operating system market.

I don’t doubt that Microsoft execs, lobbyists and sympathizers are all saying “Screw Google” right now… if they aren’t then they should be. But maybe its time for Microsoft to realize that they can’t afford to spend their time and energy tearing competing companies down. Instead they should be using that time to focus on building themselves up. While others are bringing new and innovative ideas to customers no matter the cost (see YouTube), Microsoft seems to be that 32 year-old guy who is obsessed with how awesome and popular they were in high school without realizing they are no longer awesome or popular.

Let me be clear… I don’t want Microsoft to fail. In fact I’d like to see them succeed. But the company seems to be driving itself into the ground with a corporate culture that may have worked a decade ago but will not work now. Its time to grow up, Microsoft… you’re only screwing yourself.

[Via Daily Finance – thanks Dan]