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Posted by David Cooperstein on August 12, 2009
Follow me on Twitter @minicooper
Around the dinner table in upstate New York this past weekend, and again during a long bike ride, the same conversation arose amongst some friends regarding the parallels between GM in the 1970s and Microsoft today. I was intrigued, not only because of the great discussion we had, but because we had been driving around in a 1973 Buick Centurion (see me and my Hungarian Vizslas in that great 35 year old beauty, below). It was built the same year as the Arab oil embargo that led Congress to mandate fuel economy standards. GM's market share was still a dominant 40+ %, and imports were small and noisy or unreliable.
The analogy is poignant as Microsoft announced in July that revenues fell for the first time since their 1986 debut as a public company. This is a cautionary tale for Microsoft -- and all marketers at large companies, regardless of industry - that is foreshadowed in GM's decades of woe and how to avoid them. In the context of the perception of Microsoft today versus GM in the 1970s, marketers should remember that:
Do you see commonalities between your business and the trajectory GM blazed starting in the 70s? Comment here, or email me at dcooperstein [at] forrester.com.