It's even worse than it appears..
Friday May 17, 2024; 9:10 AM EDT
  • It's overwhelming how much ground Google has to cover to get AI into all their products, but that's what they think they have to do, and I more or less agree. They feel they have to because their main product, search, is threatened by ChatGPT. #
  • Clayton Christensen called this The Innovator's Dilemma in a book published in 1997. It's why Netscape was able to undermine Microsoft when the web came out. Microsoft had a huge beast they had to move, Windows, and all its apps, and while they had a hardcore, scrappy and rich culture, they couldn't overcome the inertia that comes from being dug in, with their cannons pointed at the already-vanquished IBM, not the upstarts that came from the VCs in Silicon Valley. #
  • Microsoft and the rest of the PC industry had written off Unix, but there it was, again -- ugly as ever, but with networking that really worked and was easy, and the users wanted networking even though Microsoft wanted them to want Office. #
  • Google did the same with AI. As did Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. They had AI projects, and used AI in limited areas, as did Microsoft with Unix in the early 90s. But they couldn't bet everyting on it like a startup can. Now they have to. But the they don't have the tools needed to fight the new war. That's the dilemma. #
  • This is the toughest corner any tech company has to turn, but there is an approach that could work for Google. Their strength is distribution. They have all the users. They can take a product that's ready for the world to market in a day. But they can't develop it. You can't snap your fingers and have a good new UI for every one of their products, ready in a year, although they will try as MS tried to adapt Office to the web. They don't have the right people or corporate culture to do that. Instead you have to hope you can find a great bootstrapping startup outside to work with, and use their strength as a distributor to help them. This is what I recommended for Microsoft in the 1990s, and I think I was vindicated, it would have imho worked a lot better than the path they chose. #
  • But now, their third time around this loop, Microsoft has learned! With their OpenAI partnership they've done exactly what I recommended in the 90s. They still have to convert all the old software and their user interfaces around the new capabilities, but at least they also own a share of a bootstrap that's now booming.#
  • PS: I am blessed to have lived long enough now to have been part of now six different rearrangements like this. I love that we have now gotten there again. There's absolutely no doubt now, imho. The six rearrangements -- minis, PCs, GUIs, web, Napster, and now AI.#
  • PPS: This is all my opinion, and from the polls I did yesterday, it's obvious that many of the people within earshot don't agree or have seen the light yet. #

© copyright 1994-2024 Dave Winer.

Last update: Saturday May 18, 2024; 9:05 AM EDT.

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