I had a theory a while back that Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) blew billions of dollars on technology missteps just so that he could learn a couple of important things about the future. With all the money it prints and the legacy business it controls, Microsoft has had the luxury of launching challenger devices and services that were dogs — but from which Mr. Ballmer gathered data, insights, and ways forward. His overbuilt, over engineered products were real-time usability tests. Costly but smart. Poor Mr. Ballmer.
Mark Zuckerberg is scary because all the news out of this year’s Facebook developers conference, called f8, points to Facebook’s desire to own to world’s user data. If banks or the treasury owned the data Facebook will and does – knowing how, on what, and when we spend our hard-earned, it would be a major antitrust violation. And all Mr. Z has to do is put some software code, cookies , crumbs and apps behind his platform and it will become a one-stop-shop for everything behavioral. When behavior becomes data and sortable as such, allowing for 1-to-1 targeting, the game will be over. That’s why Google was scared into Google+.
No one likes an overdog, but that is what Facebook is becoming. Mr. Zuckerberg will soon need to hire a Chief Overdog Officer. In this light, Mr. Ballmer will be the underdog billionaire. Peace.