Friday, June 22, 2007

Blunders in IT

I'm going to start writing about some blunders made in the IT/Telecom space. If you remember there were front runners in the software space that got killed by Microsoft:

  1. Novell
  2. Lotus and
  3. Word Perfect.

Novell was THE name in file servers and networking up until about 1997. By then, Microsoft starting eating away at the market with BIG marketing money. Novell was complacent. It had a solid product that was geeky, but didn't require too much maintenance. MS required lots of hand-holding - and the newly minted MCSE's were pushing MS boxes. Novell never caught up; didn't embrace their channel; and ended up losing.

Word Perfect was the de facto word processing software for almost every flavor of O/S. Apple, UNIX, DOS, Linux, OS2 and Windows. Now owned by Corel, (who bought it from Novell), it is a shadow of what it used to be. The chink in the armor was due to its delaying a release for Windows - and that first Windows version was very different from the beloved DOS version. MS Word was marketed more aggressively - and Word Perfect never recovered. Did you even know that Corel still makes Corel WordPerfect? Version X3 is out.

Lotus 1-2-3 was the original spreadsheet software. So popular that MS Excel had help keys for Lotus users. (Basically, MS stole everything from Lotus in its spreadsheet). Lotus bundled some other crappy software like AmiPro in Lotus SmartSuite to compete with the Office bundle. It was much cheaper than Office and was gaining a foothold until Lotus delayed its win32 release. Enough of a delay that Lotus lost its share. It developed Lotus Notes and bough CC:Mail, which prompted the attention of IBM, who needed to compete against Exchange. Lotus spreadsheet is no more.

All 3 had something in common: they rested on their laurels. Like hanging on to dial-up and connectivity, when you should be looking for new needs and wants from your client base and market space.

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