Competition is the norm in the business world. Many people even use war as a metaphor for business competition. As master leaders, Apple founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, how do they handle business? What about competition issues? Let's take a look at the four strategies summarized by the author in the book "Strategic Thinking".
The first strategy is the "puppy tactic". The term “puppy tactics” comes from Jean Tirole, the 2014 Nobel Prize winner in economics, and Zhu Fudenberg, a master of economics. It means to make yourself as harmless as possible, to keep competitors completely unaware of your intentions, and even to make the market unclear about your true intentions through camouflage and misleading.
Being undervalued by the market and competitors will give you an edge when entering a new field.
Jobs was a tough entrepreneur. However, he is also a master at employing puppy tactics. For example, Jobs adopted this strategy when he was building the iTunes music store.
At that time, Jobs needed to negotiate with large music companies, so that these companies, which hold a lot of music copyrights, agreed that Apple would sell them on its online store at a price of 99 cents per song. The big music companies don't really like this solution. They prefer to sell music works in units of albums, and the prices are higher.
However, when negotiating with them, Jobs would emphasize that the market share of Apple computers was only 2% at that time. Therefore, "What harm can there be in authorizing music for use on Apple computers? Just treat it as an experiment.
" The leaders didn't think that Apple would have a big impact on the music industry at all. A senior executive of a music company said: "The record company will not be afraid of him. Jobs is just a person with ideas." So they agreed. Jobs' proposal.
Jobs also often misled competitors in his public statements. The most typical example is that in June 2003, Jobs participated in the "Wall Street Journal" event and categorically denied that Apple would consider making mobile phones and tablet computers. Tablets are a product that won't succeed, he said, adding that he doesn't believe people want to watch videos on a small screen that they can carry around.
If what he said was true, there would be no iTouch, iPhone and iPad.
The second strategy is competition and cooperation. While protecting oneself, establish a cooperative relationship with the enemy. Both Gates and Jobs are masters of competition and cooperation, able to cooperate and compete with their opponents at the same time.
Before Microsoft became a giant, Gates had been careful to maintain a relationship with IBM. IBM was a well-deserved technology giant at the time. It was the cooperation with IBM at the beginning that gave Microsoft its later achievements. Gates' strategy is to keep working with IBM as much as possible until he has enough strength and capital. Meanwhile, prepare for future confrontations.
After Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of the most important decisions he made was to announce a partnership with Microsoft. Although the two companies were rivals before, they remained rivals for a long time afterwards. Jobs said at the time that the idea that for Apple to win, Microsoft had to lose must be abandoned. In hindsight, it was an extremely important decision. The deal brought Apple a $150 million investment from Microsoft, resolved a long-running legal dispute and allowed Microsoft to develop software for Apple computers.
The third strategy is to learn from the opponent, embrace the opponent's advantage, and turn it into your own advantage.
In the business world, especially in Silicon Valley, imitating a competitor is often seen as a sign of admitting defeat. But top entrepreneurs like Gates and Jobs believed that one of the best ways to meet challenges was to learn from their opponents' strengths and then build on them. They let go of their pride and lead the business to greater success.
Jobs has always been known for innovation. However, in an internal email in 2010, when he talked about the competition with the Android system, he said very bluntly: the parts we lag behind Android must catch up and surpass them, and we must catch up with Google Cloud Services and surpass them .
In 1995, Microsoft faced the impact of the Internet, and the emerging company Netscape stole a lot of Microsoft's limelight. Netscape browser accounted for more than 90% of the market share. Gates' response was not to defend the private Internet service that the company had invested so much resources in, but to embrace the network technology pioneered by Netscape. Gates publicly stated that Microsoft is ready to abandon its own technology, accept and adapt to "all popular Internet protocols", "any technology used by many publishers, we will support."
The story after that is that Microsoft developed IE The browser, by binding the browser to its overwhelmingly dominant operating system, finally won the battle of life and death.
The fourth strategy is to use one's own market position to "bully others". The author of this book also wrote a book called "Judo Strategy", which is also about competition. Judo strategy emphasizes flexibility and compromise. But here's the fourth strategy, which is more like sumo. "Sumo requires toughness. The measure of success for sumo wrestlers is how much fear they can arouse."
At this point, Microsoft has been quite successful. In the browser war between Netscape and Microsoft, the Department of Justice later investigated Microsoft for its alleged monopoly. It turned out that Microsoft's strategy at the time was "bullying".
In a memo, Microsoft announced its strategy: go to the top five sites and ask what they can do to get them to use Microsoft's IE browser "at all costs." For example, Gates said to Steve Case, CEO of America Online: I can buy 20% of your shares and buy your entire company, or I can enter this industry myself and beat you.
Gates will also use Microsoft's market dominance to announce its new products or product upgrades in advance, with the purpose of making consumers look forward to the products that market leaders will launch, thereby preventing them from buying competing products.
The above are the four competitive strategies used by top entrepreneurs like Gates and Jobs. "Knowing when to keep a low profile, when to cooperate with competitors, when to learn from competitors' strengths, and when to bully others may affect success or failure." Hope to inspire you.