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On Microsoft and Marissa Mayer’s Challenge

Why Mayer's turnaround is nothing like Microsoft's Internet challenge in 1995.
Jul | 17 | 2012

Jul | 17 | 2012

On HBR, Dorie Clark compares the challenges faced by Yahoo’s new CEO to those faced by Microsoft in 1995. She writes that “Microsoft had missed the boat on the Internet and, from that moment forward, would make it their primary strategic focus.”

True, but Microsoft had locked in many enterprise customers with Office, SQL Server, etc. and many consumers with windows. The Consumerization of IT means that people have increased choice, up to and including Microsoft’s two cash cows: operating systems and productivity tools.

So, what does this mean for Yahoo and Mayer? Is this a fair comparison?

Not really. In the Age of the Platform, no one has to use Yahoo products or services. If Yahoo continues to lag, more and more people will opt for a bevy of free, more popular alternatives.

Mayer is a smart cookie, to be sure, but her work is clearly cut out for her. For every Apple and IBM (successful turnaround case studies), there are many more with less than desired outcomes.

Best of luck to Mayer. She’s going to need it.


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