Joel Spolsky Interview

Excerpts from the Microsoft Watch interview:

I think Google is orthogonal to Microsoft. Microsoft will be chasing their tail lights. I wouldn’t say Google is really a challenge to Microsoft. Or maybe they are. Maybe Google is to Microsoft what Microsoft is to IBM. In the 1990s, Microsoft’s nemesis was IBM. IBM was a boring, established company. (But then the PC revolution happened, and Microsoft sailed past IBM in that space.) Google is saying the Internet is the computer it’s the Internet computer in the sky. And Microsoft’s not getting it.

But one of the mistakes Google is making is applications like Gmail are great on the Google platform. But if Google was really paying attention, they’d say we have to have outside developers writing applications for Google. There should be 27 different e-mail systems using the Google infrastructure. And then they can become Microsoft. It will be interesting to see if Google will wake up and open themselves to developers. The (current) Google API is incredibly narrow and not open.

I don’t see a lot of innovation (with the core Office product). And what I do see is a lot of churning – like new XML file formats. It’s like cars. The newer models look a little bit different. You might want the newer one for the fashion. There’s a lot of great stuff in Office that people still haven’t discovered. But they don’t want to learn it. They just want to get their jobs done.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.