But their own mission is far from achieved

Is [old giant] losing out to [hot upstart] over [new trend]?

Did Microsoft miss out on the big search opportunity that Google pounced on? Is Google losing the real-time communication game to Twitter?

Microsoft’s original mission was “a computer on every desk and in every home” [1]. Even with their almost total dominance of the PC industry, that mission remains far from accomplished.

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. That’s a mouthful. But it’s also nowhere near completion.

Both companies – one over 3 decades old, the other over a decade old – have still only plucked the low-hanging fruit. Urban homes and corporations have computers, but there are still billions of potential Microsoft consumers – who might be well served with a mobile “computer”, for instance. For Google, even with its mind-boggling data center infrastructure and web-crawling, the task is just begun. Books. Space. History. Energy and resource consumption. And more. And that’s just the “organize” bit. Converting all that data to information so that it is “accessible and useful” is another thing altogether.

Companies like these are larger than the “next big thing”. Their own “thing” is so incredibly significant, so humbling. That’s why it’s unfortunate when such an organization changes its very mission to something that can mean absolutely anything (and therefore also nothing): Microsoft’s mission is now “to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential” [2].

Google isn’t about to kill Microsoft. Not if Microsoft directs all its resources towards what it set out to do. Likewise for Google; Twitter isn’t out to organize everything known to man. So ignore those predictions of doom.



[1] According to Wikipedia the exact words were “to get a workstation running our software onto every desk and eventually in every home”

[2] Although I didn’t find any evidence to suggest Microsoft changed its mission in response to any other company or threat