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Why is VMware obsessively battling with Microsoft?

This blogger ponders about the typical behavior that can lead firms to lose focus of the market (examples of DEC, Novell etc). We are seeing a "excessive hybridization" in terms of strategies that firms are taking to create a "Free for All" markets.

HP's acquisition is one such example, Credit Suisse developing its own hybrid management product, Intel going into networking, Cisco moving to data center and lots of criss-cross strategies that are enough to keep an exciting and smart firm busy battling the highly sensitive, aspirational consumer.

Anyways interesting article this:

I realize that it's a tradition in the computer industry, but I find it a little disappointing to see virtualization giant VMware following the same competitive marketing obsession that made industry powerhouses of Banyan Systems, WordPerfect, Digital Equipment and Novell.

Each of those companies, at one time, were considered absolutely dominant in their own markets and gradually lost those positions partially by focusing on the elegant engineering of their original product set and failing to recognize the point at which customers began to take that function for granted.

Once that happens -- usually after Microsoft and a whole bunch of other companies offer a good-enough version of the same product -- you have to offer customers more than just elegantly engineered basic functions and focus on what more you can do for them.

As a reporter covering the network operating system market in the mid-90s, I spent a lot of time talking to Novell engineers about how much faster NetWare was than NT Server at file and print -- the product and functions that built the company.

Customers already took file and print for granted, though; they wanted a server that did more than just file and print. They wanted one that could run applications and connect them to the Internet and reduce the number of operating systems they had to deal with every day, even if it didn't do some things as quickly as NetWare.

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