How Microsoft Gets …

How Microsoft Gets Big and Remains a Monopoly: From Scripting News, I read with interest this article about IronPort, a startup that aims to sell custom mail gateway hardware/software servers. You have to note that almost the entire IronPort executive management team comes from Hotmail and Listbot, two companies that were acquired by Microsoft. It’s safe to assume that IronPort, whose main competition is Sendmail, will at some point be acquired by Microsoft. Since Microsoft acquires companies and technologies that they can use to undermine and/or monopolize other markets, it makes complete sense for them to acquire IronPort since it could be marketed to those companies that refuse to install an Exchange server (for security reasons).

This is an interesting business plan, even if it’s hidden from plain view. Build a startup that targets an industry that Microsoft does not have a strong foothold in. Then, once you have your technology (or service) solidified and working, go knock on Bill Gates’ door to see if he’d be interested in buying you out for a few hundred million. If your startup is succeeding in an area that Microsoft wants to get a foothold in, a buyout is very likely.

So how can you make money off this? Simple, start looking at startups that might be juicy acquisitions for Microsoft. Need an example? How about PacketVideo, who has figured out how to broadcast video to your cell phone and PDAs. Perfect killer app for Microsoft’s stinger phone/PDA. Once you’ve located a good bet, try to get a job with them or figure out a way to buy pre-IPO stock options that will be traded for Microsoft stock after a buyout.

OK readers. What other small companies (and/or technologies) may be ripe for acquisition by our favorite illegal monopoly? Email.

Let’s keep going. Think about companies that Microsoft has acquired, and ask yourself why. Why did Microsoft acquire Bungie a few years back? Bungie was developing Halo, one of the most innovative computer games to come along in several years. Microsoft wanted it exclusively for the Xbox, their Trojan Horse video gaming console. The solution was to acquire Bungie, probably because the Bungie guys were hardcore Mac-heads and it was simply easier to throw millions of dollars at them than to form some kind of partnership. Remember, Microsoft loves exclusivity (for them it means consumer and developer lock-in). Ask yourself, why did Microsoft acquire Great Plains Software? Great Plains has long been a leader in selling programs that handle functions such as accounting, finance, payroll and inventory control for small and medium sized businesses. What about Ncompass Labs, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year? Ncompass had created an industrial-strength content management system that had tight integration with Microsoft’s Office programs. Within three months of the acquisition, Microsoft was selling something called the Microsoft Content Management System (how completely unoriginal). Who are they targeting? Vignette and Broadvision, of course.

Don McArthur writes “Please address how Microsoft’s love of exclusivity differs from Apple’s absolute requirement of exclusivity.” Good point, Don. I see very little difference between the two, except that Apple is not a monopoly and is not in any position to hurt other companies financially through unethical (and sometimes illegal) business decisions.

This CNN press release (er, news article) claims that Microsoft’s .NET web services framework is the solution to the Web’s security woes. Ha ha, that’s rich. Microsoft, after all, is the company that has afforded us such wonderful treats as the Melissa virus, Code Red and Nimba. And Passport has already been hacked. What a joke.

Tim McCoy writes:

I was working with a drug company to help them introduce formal content management techniques into their operation. I had been working with NCompassLabs because the drug company’s Web strategy was to use Microsoft products – so I would have been remiss not to consider them. There was one sticking point. The drug company database standard was Oracle. The NCompassLabs folks were SQL Server only but were coming out with a version that allowed customer choice on which RDBMS to base it on. Once they were bought out by Microsoft, however, that choice went away…

Posted by Cameron Barrett at November 27, 2001 06:55 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *