Thursday, January 11, 2007

More on the underdo strategy

Nowhere is the underdo strategy more active than in computer software. Thanks to Microsoft setting a high bar for pricing (and growing higher--see these new prices for Windows Vista and Office!), or deficient functionality, or both, they've left lots of space for companies to develop products that offer good or better value at a much lower (or zero) price point. Here's a short list:

Do you think Google sees this white space as an opportunity? You bet. They bought Writely and put together Google Docs & Spreadsheets as a way to grow into a market that has been Microsoft's alone. Yet now Microsoft is trapped in the position of the high-price competitor, offering loads of features that no one uses.

In an example of how things have changed, I use exactly two pieces of Microsoft software: Windows XP and Media Player (and that only when I have to).

And I'm not a cutting-edge tech guy, either.

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Kaj Kandler said...

Question: What feature would bring the largest productivity increase in office applications?

Think about your answer for a moment before you read my answer in the next comment.

Kaj Kandler said...

Better documentation and user-support !

Specifically, documentation, help, knowledge bases, etc. that is user centric and not application centric. Right now, each application develops its own language for documentation purposes. Every logical object, field and dialog gets its name and these names are used consistently.

Users, think reading software documentation requires learning a foreign language.

Here is my approach to help non technical users: Plan-B for - professional support for the rest of us!

Let me know what you think.