November 18, 2005

Microsoft Innovation

Whenever I search the Internet for innovation, I read content that labels Microsoft Innovation as "me too." In business having "Me to" or "copycat" products is a supreme negative. Most copycat companies and products don't last long.

In my opinion labeling Microsoft innovation as copycat is a red herring. It misses the true meaning of innovation. Innovation is not an end...it is a means. Said another way - innovation is a strategy. It guides a company and defines its essential value proposition every day and in every meeting.

Dan'l Lewin a VP at Microsoft captures this in a recent article at Always On. He says: "The essence of Microsoft's innovation machine is commercialization: the commoditization of technology, partner empowerment, and the delivery of new products and capabilities to the global mass market." I think Dan'l is bang on. Click here for the full article.

Is this "me too"? I don't think so. I don't know of another company that's stayed true to its core essence as long as Microsoft has.

By the way, in the real world "me too" elements have a place and time. They are called "line extensions, modifications or enhancements". Every company has them. The instigator for them is competition. Let's not mix this up with true, long lasting innovation.

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