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A few years ago, Microsoft developed a contact lens with the ability to measure blood sugar level and announced the product via a blog post. This innovation could have become salvation for diabetes patients and company’s reclaim. However, the innovation did not receive a deserved resonance. Later, Google presented it as their product which aroused tremendous publicity and became the focus of mass media attention.
The author of the idea was Babak Parviz who started the original project with Microsoft and reintroduced it to Google after the failure. Overall, during the last years, Google has become a new trendsetter in the realm of high technologies and innovations, whereas Microsoft is gradually losing its once high rank of “an arbiter of technology” (Vance, 2014, p. 8). The time of Microsoft started in the 1970s and lasted through the 1990s. Smart phones, smart homes, tablets, the technology of voice recognition, etc. were Microsoft’s achievements throughout these decades.
The 2000s can hardly be called Microsoft’s era. While at Microsoft they prefer to be careful about innovations, Google prefers to take a risk and act aggressively. Google has invested and succeeded in the sphere of robotics, smart cars and smart homes – the spheres once pioneered and dominated by Microsoft. Microsoft, on the other hand, has had a few failed and unfortunate investments and partnerships. In contrast, Google was by far more fortunate with their Android and has a wider array of partnerships which include nearly a dozen automotive giants (Vance, 2014).
Microsoft’s research base does not give way to that at Google. However, each product at Microsoft is doomed for sinking into oblivion because of the company’s lack of internal agiotage about turning ideas into technologies. What Google has is a winning combination of open-minded shareholders, public investments and worthy media coverage. It seems enough to be successful in the innovations market. Now that such respected and huge personalities of Microsoft as Bill Gates are in the shadow of greatness, and new actors like Satya Nadella have joined the company’s management, Microsoft has a chance to “reset expectations with investors and consumers” (Vance, 2014, p. 9).
Microsoft is a brand name to which an average man attributes first and foremost Windows, its kernel software breakthrough, but could have attributed also the diabetes contact lens if Microsoft were as daring as Google. What made the product work in Google’s hands? The innovation is one and the same in both cases, and the product is not a failure per se. Then the failure must be in its presentation.
Microsoft did little to cause a resonance in the outer business, scientific, medical and public circles. Microsoft chose a blog entry to inform the world on their innovation instead of investing into a massive ad campaign which would present the technology as capable of benefitting people with special health conditions and so advanced it can literally fit on the fingertip. Media is the most influential force in the modern information age, and blog is by far not the mightiest medium of all available. Microsoft’s current state can be described as innovative thinking which seldom becomes innovative acting. The company has become conservative and overly careful which is a dead-end alley in the modern world of fast-developing high technologies. If it does not announce about its innovations loudly and immediately, it will not be able to return its former glory.
Vance, A. (2014). Time for Microsoft to tap its inner Google. Business Week, 8-9.