Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I happened to watch a video which talked about the book called ‘Art Of War’ by Sun Tsu, was an ancient Chinese Military General, strategist and philosopher. Sun Tsu suggested the importance of positioning in strategy and that position is affected both by objective conditions in the physical environment and the subjective opinions of competitive actors in that environment. He talks about 2 strategies in particular, Chess1 strategy and Go2 strategy. According to him Go strategy can work better than Chess strategy in warfare. Here is the example of 2 companies in war, from same industry. One opted for Chess strategy and other for Go strategy.

The first company is Microsoft, which applied Chess strategy and other Apple, which applied go strategy. This is the description about how this battle was fought. In beginning there was IBM(International Business Machines).IBM started computing in the form of Mainframes. The machines were very big, and very primitive those days. It was basically only a piece of hardware which used to perform tasks. Assembly language was there so that Instructions could be given to machines, but as more and more components were developed and needed to communicate with each other, things started becoming more and more complex.IBM needed a piece of software which will regulate the entire machine0, allowing messages to be sent from one component to another using a predetermined protocol. They decided to outsource it. Microsoft got the opportunity to do it. They developed OS(Operating System) for IBM. Bill gates made sure that the rights for source code remained with Microsoft. They started selling OS to other clients as well.It was MS-DOS at that time. Soon they came up with Windows and as they say rest is history.

In the other part of the world(though in America itself), Steve jobs had started a company called Apple. Apple developed everything by themselves, the hardware, the software and the applications. The problem with this approach was that the price of Apple machine was higher. People realized they can buy hardware from any vendor and Microsoft OS and it will be cheaper for them. Microsoft could launch new versions of OS and all you have to pay was for OS and not for the entire machine. On the other hand Apple machines were difficult to upgrade. Soon Apple lost their market share and were nearly out of business. Microsoft was so dominant with their chess approach that they literally killed companies like Apple and Netscape.

Time passed, many things happened in between. Microsoft became giant, Apple was almost on the brink of bankruptcy. Steve Jobs realized that Apple can not survive if they attacked Microsoft directly. Apple under the vision of Steve jobs took a different route. They realized that market for portable music was largely untapped. They came up with a product called iPod. iPod was a HUGE hit. Brand Apple finally on the right track. They launched different versions of iPod catering to the needs of different audiences. Soon apple became a dominant player in portable music market. Steve Jobs saw another market which could be captured, it was cell phone market. They launched iPhone. Again a HUGE hit. With products like iPhone and iPod, which was declared as the greatest invention of the decade, Apple became a brand which everyone aspired for. Everybody wanted Apple. It was seen as sign of style, and prestige.

Meanwhile the computers were becoming cheaper and cheaper. People wanted and could afford to change their machines in 2-3 years. Brand Apple was a hit millions and millions of those who had iPod and iPhone wanted to switch to Macbook/Apple desktop. With products like iPod, iPhone, iPad these days everybody wants Apple and last year Apple’s Market Capitalization was more than Microsoft’s. In the hindsight Apple took a different root, a different strategy, Go strategy. At least for now it seems to be working for them.

1-Chess: Chess is a board game played between two players. It is played on a chessboard, which is a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. At the start, each player controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way to remove or defend it from attack on the next move.

2-Go: Go , known in Chinese as weiqi, is an ancient board game for two players that is noted for being rich in strategy despite its simple rules.

The game is played by two players who alternately place black and white stones on the vacant intersections of a grid of 19×19 lines. Once placed on the board, stones cannot be moved elsewhere, unless they are surrounded and captured by the opponent's stones. The object of the game is to control (surround) a larger portion of the board than the opponent.

1,2 explanations have been taken from

1 comment:

sony said...

good one once again,
finaly i got to kno more abt microsoft and apple..
hope u will future greatest enterpreneur....