Arrogance is one virtue Google should leave to Microsoft..

Over the years, Microsoft has often been criticized for being arrogant.  Extremely arrogant in declaring itself the best software, the best operating system, the best blah, blah.,blah!!  Did being arrogant work?  YES, to a degree, but reality was Microsoft was the best at aligning with PC manufactures, resellers, and branding itself in the eyes of businesses and consumers.

Examples of Microsoft’s arrogance are plentiful.

  • In 2001, Microsoft executives launched an all-out propaganda war against open-source software, while a few years later embraced open-source when it saw the threat to its core revenue streams.
  • In 2002, during the anti-trust trials, one of the states attorneys’ lawyer Steven Kuney claimed Microsoft’s arrogance was so outrageous, that they “Somehow they know better than anybody else what is good for the PC ecosystem.”
  • In 2005, Microsoft brought in Arthur Sorkin, a scientist for an interview, and instead of discussing the organization and the value of working for Microsoft, they gave him a “pop-quiz”.   “It displayed a certain degree of arrogance and presumption,” Sorkin said.”

So why bring this up, and how does Google play into this?  Google, like Microsoft was in the past is now heralded as the “golden child” of innovation and technology.  They are constantly working on re-inventing themselves, and becoming even more integral into people’s lives.

People like the underdog, people root for the underdog, yet once the underdog becomes ungrateful, arrogant, and Machiavellian, you inevitably “lose” the people.

Over the past few months, Google has carefully protected their brand, and avoided becoming arrogant in the consumer’s eyes. A few days ago, I read one of the most blatant examples of arrogance I have seen in some time:

Google’s Andy Rubin has essentially declared that “Android is the last platform for smartphones that the world needs.”  In an interview with PC Magazine, the Google VP of Engineering was asked what he thought of Microsoft’s new platform.

‘I think the screen shots I’ve seen are interesting, but look, the world doesn’t need another platform. Android is free and open; I think the only reason you create another platform is for political reasons. Why doesn’t the whole world run with [Android]? They don’t like the people who developed, or “not invented here,” but [Android] is a successful, complete, vertically integrated free platform.”

WOW!!!!…what arrogance, how foolish is that statement to make?  Google has a commanding lead in so many technologies, is making great strides to bring collaboration to the masses both consumer and enterprise, yet they are falling into the Microsoft Arrogance Trap.  Google’s dominance has already started to earn it some powerful opposition by certain governments, and secondary companies, but why help the critics?

Google found fame and fortune for having great technology, and for being the “Anti-Microsoft”.  Why spoil that with arrogance?  I think all companies need to think carefully about how they are perceived by the public as we have seen today’s darlings are tomorrow’s oppressors.

My advice to Google, should they listen to me is: “Be Humble, Be the Underdog”

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