From economic force to good corporate citizen:
From Tech ‘Crutch’ to the Promise of Proprietary Technology:
This is an argument I’m fascinated by for a couple of reasons. Firstly the fact that Microsoft is one such commodity tech vendor, and they are essentially now chasing a narrative that goes against the rest of their peers like Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Amazon. Secondly, I totally agree with the fundamentals of this argument and I’ll take you back to an important quote from Peter Thiel ‘Customers won’t care about any particular technology unless it solves a particular problem in a superior way. And if you can’t monopolize a unique solution for a small market, you’ll be stuck with vicious competition’. Essentially the only way to build a monopoly is to have proprietary technology. For example, Personalisation – every retailer most likely has this on their strategic roadmap, however it’s actually a commodity in a way (or will become a commodity) because everyone is going about it in the same way, using the same vendor and system…and ultimately the same proposition to the customer making it an expectation in the future. Finally, my fascination with this argument is how can a retailer do this when don’t consider themselves a technology company?..and in fact that would be why they would work with a vendor like Microsoft, Salesforce, Amazon etc. My point is the argument Satya is recounting is sound, in fact it’s even liberating to hear…but it feels like ‘tech washing’ more than a real desire for retailers to truly reach beyond superficial adaptations and build proprietary technology.