What a lot of time and money is being wasted duplicating other peoples’ products. Microsoft has spent years producing Bing – a sub-standard alternative to Google’s search engine, and Google has spent a fortune producing Android – now being dropped all-round as a Netbook OS – and gaining little traction as a Smartphone OS.
In its naivety, Google has pre-announced a new Netbook OS – Chrome – to be used in products at the end of next year – as if the Netbook market is going to wait a year for this problematic vapourware. Time, tide and technology wait for no man.
It’s tempting to look over the wall and think ‘that guy’s in an easy business’ and kid yourself you can do it better.
Intel has tried diversifying into: watches, video-conferencing, ASICs, programmable logic, consumer electronics and telecoms chips – all unsuccessfully.
National tried for years to break into microprocessors – ending with its x86 run via Cyrix – before retreating to its natural zone of analogue.
The pity of it is the waste. The waste of money, the waste of engineering effort, the waste of management time.
Maybe the current dearth of innovation in the high-tech industry derives from CEOs, blissfully ignorant in their eyries, cutting costs in their core businesses to invest in new businesses.
That’s an OK thing to do if the new business is a natural extension of the existing business, or if the CEO has figured out a way to do things significantly better, but it’s a pathetic waste if it’s just to do a me-too product.