Bill Gates was legendary for his relentless work ethic in the early days of Microsoft. Admittedly, he was not the most socially aware when it came to managing people. But somehow, he learned to master the art of building an enduring organization, where knowing how to deal with people is not only essential, it’s the sole determinant. But saying Microsoft is enduring is a gross understatement, it is continuing to thrive and by leaps and bound. Its sustained skilled execution creates an unfair advantage much to the chagrin of its competitors.
Amazon was first to the public cloud services market and it held its lead for several years. Soon on its tail was no other than Microsoft and today its Azure product is catching up. With a vendor like Microsoft so entrenched within large corporate enterprises, as long as it continues to perform, it will garner the same amount of trust in its userbase as its always had. This longstanding trust leads to cross-selling opportunities. And with an ethos for company growth and staying ahead of the competition, Microsoft both creates and seizes its opportunities.
The same is ringing true in collaboration tools. Slack has become well known in the market for providing an intuitive platform in which teams can collaborate across multiple channels. It’s been rapidly adopted mostly in the small and medium sized business segment. The company is seeking to go public this year and in its S-1 filing, states Microsoft as its primary competitor.
Just like in the Amazon case, Slack was the first mover, but Microsoft, recognizing the opportunity, quickly gained ground, launching Microsoft Teams in 2017 to directly compete with Slack. Two years later, more than 500,000 organizations use Teams, which is up from 200,000 in March of last year and 50,000 in 2017. In fact, Teams is the fastest-growing app in Microsoft’s history.
Microsoft’s key competitive advantage has been execution and a relentless focus on identifying where the software market is moving. It has superb leadership and an organizational culture grounded in performance. And this consistency in performance is the root of Microsoft’s trillion dollar market capitalization. It is indeed shaping up to be the most formidable competitor there ever was in business, throughout history and across industries.