The word "underdog" isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Microsoft. But that's exactly how Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg labeled the technology empire during a recent joint press conference. Here's what the chief executive of the world's most famous social network said:
"The thing that makes Microsoft a great partner for us is that they really are the underdog," Zuckerberg said. "Because of that, they're in a structural position where they're incentivized to just go all out and innovate."
So does this indicate that Bill Gates empire is coming to an end? Far from it, and Bianca Bosker of Huffington Post seeks to explain why being called an underdog is not necessarily a bad thing:
At the beginning of this decade, this description would have been ridiculous, like referring to the Yankees as an unsung, longshot baseball club. From the spread of personal computing through the dawn of the World Wide Web, its software governed the desktops of more than nine in ten desktop computers. Microsoft was so dominant that it became a symbol of monopoly power run amok, supposedly snuffing out innovation. Its rivals affixed pejorative labels like "Death Star" and "Evil Empire," accusing Microsoft of exploiting its control of the desktop to smother any and all potential competitors. Antitrust authorities in Washington and Brussels pursued a veritable crusade to break Microsoft into bite-sized pieces.
"Back in the 80s and 90s, Microsoft was seen as invulnerable," says Howard Anderson, a senior lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management.
But now, after a lost decade that has seen its fortunes sag in multiple businesses, this same company is--not without justification--referred to affectionately as the underdog by the head of a Web business that did not even exist when Microsoft first developed an Internet browser. A Newsweek columnist recently dismissed Microsoft as no longer a source of fear in the technology world, but rather "a bit of a joke." Nearly ten years ago, a newspaper had declared Microsoft a step away from "world domination."