Soft War

A fascinating insider-view history of Microsoft competitive strategy by David Auerbach:

One interesting thing did emerge (at least for me, as an employee of the company) in the antitrust discovery process: I learned that before I arrived, a war over the future took place at the highest levels of Microsoft, between the “doves” and the “hawks.” The “doves” wanted to embrace other internet companies, like Netscape (which had the best early browser) and even AOL to an extent, and share power with them; the “hawks” wanted to clamp down and try to make Microsoft the provider of internet services. The real bone of contention was Windows: here was the most profitable thing in the history of computers. But a truly aggressive internet strategy would have meant thinking about a world without Windows. This was too difficult. “I don’t want to be remembered as the guy who destroyed one of the most amazing businesses in history,” one senior executive wrote of Windows during this argument. In the end the hawks won and most of the doves left Microsoft. Then the hawks lost. … 

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