Sometimes you have to believe in both yourself and your country and Intel is bravely putting its money where its belief is and the result could be a much more powerful role in the world than they had in the 90s.
If more companies followed their lead I think the recession would be less of a problem and we'd be in vastly better shape as a world economy.
Microsoft Licensing the Crown Jewels
This week Google announced they had licensed Microsoft ActiveSync. This was a wakeup call to me that much of what Microsoft had been licensing has been happening quietly, because most companies that Microsoft license to don't want the activity known for competitive reasons.
It is incredibly unusual for any company to license their core technologies because they are often scared to death that a competitor will use it against them. However, by not doing so they force competitors to work around them and the eventual result is first a loss of relevance as they lose ownership to key standards, and then obsolescence.
You see most companies simply don't get that a percentage of something is worth more than 100% of nothing, and they blindly trade their futures for a seemingly more secure present.
It is interesting to note that it was a similar decision by IBM to license out the core technology for the PC that helped make Microsoft in the first place. And IBM eventually had to exit this market as a result of a set of decisions to return back to the more common path of keeping key technologies unavailable to others.
The key is to license out, own the related standards, and maintain proficiency leadership not absolute and restrictive ownership. That way others license from your rather than building their own technology. And not only do they enjoy faster times to market, lower development cost and greater reliability, but the licensing company maintains ownership of the standard and assures its long term relevance.
Decisions like this require strategic thinkers, folks that can see beyond the near term risks and into the company saving benefits. While we rarely see Microsoft's licensing arrangements announced those like this recent Google announcement, and the Apple MobileMe announcement that preceded it, these developments assure that the devices we buy will work with the technology from Microsoft we already have. This both improves our user experience and safeguards these Microsoft back end offerings.
Daring to Look Ahead
In these hard economic times it is easy to focus on the staff cuts, cutbacks, and firms who seem to want to hide under their beds until the bad times are over. Google, Intel, and Microsoft are making decisions and investing in their own futures and setting a standard other companies should learn from. If more acted as these firms are and invested in their own futures, the result would be a stronger world economy and fewer of us that were scared half to death by what they are seeing daily on TV.
Sometimes the heroes of the world need to stand up and be counted. Google, Microsoft, and Intel are stepping up.