Posted on 22 December 2006 by John
Today was a pretty hectic day for me. Pretty hectic but absolutely amazing because I got a very-rare opportunity to spend “a lot of” time with Mr. Nitin Mittal — Microsoft’s Director of Licensing and Pricing.
Usually, being in the back end and managing the event, you don’t get a chance to interact deeply with the person on stage. But this time I actually sneaked into the front to ask some questions about Microsoft and its strategies, straight from the man himself.
No wonder they gave him the top position — this gentleman deserves it! Every time he answered my questions, I actually felt mesmerized.
I got a chance to talk to him about if Microsoft will acquire Yahoo! in 2007, Google and Microsoft’s online frontiers, incompatibility issue of SQL Server and Vista, Microsoft’s image as the Evil Empire, thoughts about Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt, how the culture at Microsoft is different from that at GE and how mini-microsoft blog is affecting them.
Oh and before I tell you what conversation we had, here are a few pics –
If that ever happens then it would come as a total surprise to Mr. Mittal. According to him, Microsoft is a company which doesn’t believe in acquiring other companies and rather develops things themselves.
Citing a personal experience, he pointed out that his last M&A at GE was worth 2 Billion and the max he has spent at acquiring a company at Microsoft is just 40 million.
My Note — Shoemoney’s reasoning makes sense and I am positive that Microsoft may actually try to acquire Yahoo!
Microsoft realizes that Google is not Netscape that can be trampled so easily. Bill Gates also realizes that Google is a big competitor for them and they are not the same game as were the so many other companies that they killed in the past.
However, Microsoft is not going to take the defeat so easily and is following the very same strategy that it has always followed — create products to just be there and then improve on them till they become the market leaders.
They are doing it with their search product, they are doing it with Soapbox and they are doing the same on a few other fronts too. In fact, Mr. Mittal pointed out that Soapbox was created within a matter of a few weeks just to ensure that they are in the online video segment.
While Google is indeed a big headache for Microsoft, but Mr. Mittal insisted that they had other issues to deal with too. At this very moment Oracle is perhaps an even bigger pain for Microsoft as they are eating into their corporate segment.
It will be fixed very soon. But no doubt that it is going to hurt Microsoft a bit. Oracle is very-very aggressive in the space and they sometimes even give away their software for free to new clients just to increase their market-share. Oh and even Microsoft does that sometimes*.
* This was literally said with a tongue in cheek.
It is something which is attached with virtually every big company. When he switched from GE to Microsoft, he thought that he was going from one evil empire to another but when he came to Microsoft, he realized that Microsoft was the one which was being bullied by others.
Jack was a person who terrified everyone. He was all about getting things done. He was all about taking a decision and going with it. You had be either number 1 or number 2 in whatever industry you are in or you better pack your bag.
In fact, sometimes when someone was in the middle of a presentation, Jack would interrupt him or her and ask if that is all he has to say. If yes, then get out and pack your bag. He was ruthless.
Jeff, on the other hand, is a consensus guy. He takes everything differently from Jack. He sold GE Insurance because it was losing money — and he did it because he asked the question why are we in a business that is losing us the money.
GE was a company where a decision was taken and people had to go with it. At Microsoft, it is all about building consensus. You have to get all your team members to agree with your point of view and then only the thing happens. And when you have thousands of people to build consensus with, things move slow.
It sure is! Microsoft’s HR Head read it and because of it they are getting more stock options which are based on your performance rather than the bureaucratic ways of the past.
It was a totally amazing experience to talk to such a wonderful person.