Competing On Internet Time

Competing On Internet Time

Lessons From Netscape and Its Battle With Microsoft

  • reading group guide
Competing on Internet time means competitive advantage can be won and lost overnight. In this penetrating analysis of strategy-making and product innovation in the dynamic markets of commercial cyberspace, bestselling Microsoft Secrets co-author Michael Cusumano and top competitive strategy expert David Yoffie draw vital lessons from Netscape, the first pure Internet company, and how it has employed the techniques of "judo strategy" in its pitched battle with Microsoft, the world's largest software producer.
From on-site observation and more than 50 in-depth interviews at Netscape and other companies, Cusumano and Yoffie construct a blueprint meticulously detailing how the fastest-growing software company in history has competed on Internet time by moving rapidly to new products and markets, staying flexible, and exploiting leverage that uses the weight of its giant rival Microsoft against it. The main source of Netscape's leverage, they argue, has been its skill in designing products that run on multiple operating systems. Microsoft has responded with judo techniques in kind.
Managers in every high-tech industry will discover a wealth of new ideas on how to create and scale-up a new company quickly; how to compete in fast-paced, unpredictable industries; and how to design products for rapidly evolving markets. The lessons that Cusumano and Yoffie derive from Netscape's contest with Microsoft go far beyond start-ups and Internet software. Small companies in any industry and powerful, established firms alike will welcome the principles the authors formulate from this David-and-Goliath-like struggle. Competing on Internet Time is essential and instructive reading for all managers, engineers, and entrepreneurs who want to succeed in ultra-fast-paced markets.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780684831121 | 
  • November 1998
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: Introduction Competing in the Age of the Internet

Occasionally, the world experiences a technological revolution that changes the way people live and interact. Ancient peoples experienced the emergence of agriculture, irrigation, and civil engineering. These developments led to the creation of cities and urban culture. Medieval peoples experienced the invention of the printing press. This technology gradually made books, magazines, newspapers, and the printed word -- information -- ubiquitous. Early modern Europeans championed the Industrial Revolution and new fields of science and engineering. New inventions, such as... see more

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Group Questions
1. What do Cusumano and Yoffie mean by the term "Internet time?" Is Internet time, as they explain it, affecting competition in your industry?
2. What are some of the lessons learned from Competing On Internet Time about how to ramp up a new company or business quickly, especially using the technology of the Internet?
3. What do the authors mean by the term "Judo strategy?" When might this approach to competition be useful? How would you apply Judo techniques in your industry?
4. What are the key elements that characterized Netscape's approach to product design? How broadly applicable are these concepts?
5. What are the key elements that characterized Netscape's approach to product development? How broadly applicable are these concepts that the authors associate with the "synchronize-and-stabilize" process?
6. What should companies not do when competing in ultra-fast-paced markets? see more

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