Experiencing ‘Embrace, Extend & Extinguish’

I am too young to remember Microsoft doing anything that could be considered effective ‘Embrace, Extend & Extinguish’ (my first browser when using internet at home was Firefox 0.9), and hence could never appreciate the general suspicion with which everything Microsoft was viewed with. Google’s handling of Reader has remedied that for me, however. I was around to witness all the events that Ed Bott at ZDNet discusses, and hopefully I have learnt my lesson.

Fool me once…

  • Neil Kandalgaonkar

    I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. Microsoft’s EEE subverted standards. Google won the affections of RSS fans by providing the best service. They also promoted another standard, Atom, but for good reasons, I think.

    One could argue that Google is guilty of predatory pricing, but most of the players in the space had free products too. And monopolies are not illegal, or usually even unethical, if they are obtained through fair competing.

    Maybe we need a new name for this. Some confluence of open standards + SaaS + no readily available alternative + no business model = undue power to destroy a software ecosystem.

    Update: Krugman wrote on this today. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/23/the-economics-of-evil-google/

    • http://blog.yuvisense.net Yuvi Panda

      While not the same, it *is* sortof an equivalent, in that it stopped work in that field for a while, because Google had it nailed. People had stopped building things around RSS, instead using Google Reader’s unofficial API (which had sync and other things for free). But there is not really an ‘extinguish’ part to this story, I guess – RSS is still alive and well, and will probably bound back since the playing field is now wide open.

      The death of Google Reader is probably a good thing – new feed readers with much more innovative features would turn up, and some already have. So yes, it might be very different from what Microsoft did. But personally, I’ve never witnessed (or tried to understand) what it was that Microsoft did – and this is the closest I’ve got so far.