Friday, July 04, 2008

Face value | Virtual competition | Economist.com

Timely snapshot of VMWare modus operandi; read the full article for more context-setting and projections

No wonder that the culture of VMware, which now employs over 6,000 people, is often described as open and collegiate. Where Ms Greene differs from the old school of high-tech bosses is how she sees the interplay between competition and co-operation. “I grew up playing Monopoly and Risk,” she says. “You have to collaborate to win these games—and compete when it is time to compete. But if you compete and break somebody’s trust you are going to lose the next time.” Maintaining trust means always being clear about what you are doing, she says, particularly since many of her firm’s partners are also rivals. What is more, Ms Greene argues, “With the internet, you can compete more effectively by being open.” When Microsoft tried to restrict how VMware’s customers could use its software with Windows, for instance, customers complained publicly and helped VMware prepare a white paper about Microsoft’s licensing practices that was posted online—after which the software giant relented.

Face value | Virtual competition | Economist.com

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