No other business rivalry has captured the public imagination quite like the one between Netscape and Microsoft. And for good reason. It pits the world's richest corporation against a relatively recent startup. The implications of this battle--for everything from electronic commerce to network communications--extend well into the next millennium. Competing on Internet Time
, by Michael A. Cusumano and David B. Yoffie, is the definitive blow-by-blow analysis of Netscape's battle with Microsoft, starting with the founding of Netscape in 1994 through the summer of 1998, just as Microsoft was about to enter the courtroom with the Justice department over its alleged monopolistic practices.
Based on a series of interviews with Netscape employees and others, Competing on Internet Time is more than a breathless corporate biography. Rather, the authors draw lessons from the mistakes and victories that both Netscape and Microsoft have suffered and enjoyed in their war for 'Net turf--in terms of browsers, server software, and portal space. The authors come up with some surprising conclusions. For example, in examining the competitive strategies of both companies, Cusumano and Yoffie conclude that Microsoft, more than Netscape, exhibited what they call a "judo flexibility." Here they point to Microsoft's now famous December 7, 1995 Internet Day announcement of the company's embrace-and-extend strategy and its subsequent sacrifice of MSN in a deal with AOL--prime examples of how Microsoft redefined the battle in a way that avoided a direct confrontation with Netscape but nevertheless placed them center stage in the fight for Internet mindshare. The authors also go into fascinating detail about how each company operates--from the hiring of staffers to the conception, development, and marketing of products.
But this book is more than just about the conflict between Netscape and Microsoft. Anyone interested in how network-based businesses grow and change will find Competing on Internet Time a glimpse into the not-too-distant network economy. It belongs on the bookshelf of every Internet junkie and entrepreneur. --Harry C. Edwards
Competing on Internet Time
is a scholarly, well-researched report that sizes up Netscape Communications Corp.'s battle with Microsoft Corp. and analyzes the errors made by both sides.... Read the book before turning to the court testimony to get the complete, unaltered story. -- Upside, Karen Southwick
No wonder Microsoft_s antitrust lawyers subpoenaed the source material for Competing on Internet Time.
Time and again in this microscopically detailed account of Netscape_s four-year roller-coaster ride, company executives candidly point out their own blunders in fending off Microsoft.
For anyone who hopes to avoid similar pitfalls (are you listening, Rob Glaser?), the book will surely fascinate. For instance, Marc Andreessen sums up his early dismissal of Netscape.com_s profit potential as a _billion-dollar mistake._
But some chapters will require patience, unless, of course, you like reading about UNIX and Java VM. Still, the unadorned narrative is often intriguing, as the authors recount Netscape_s sometimes nimble, sometimes misguided attempts to battle the Microsoft beast. All the pivotal moments are here, such as Bill Gates_ _Pearl Harbor Day, 1995_ announcement that Microsoft would _embrace and extend_ the Net.
Through voluminous interviews with top industry insiders, the book lays bare Netscape_s arrogance and miscalculations. But the authors never let you forget that the mistakes of this tough, creative competitor would probably have gone unnoticed if it weren_t locked in a _life-and-death struggle_ with Microsoft.
Alex Lash -- From The Industry Standard