Jimmy Wales on the Microsoft-Google Rivalry
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur known for his role in the creation of Wikipedia, a free, open-content encyclopedia launched in 2001. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, holding the board-appointed "community founder" seat. In 2004, he co-founded Wikia, a privately owned, free Web-hosting service, along with Angela Beesley.
Together with Larry Sanger and others, Wales helped lay the foundation for Wikipedia, which subsequently enjoyed rapid growth and popularity. As Wikipedia expanded and its public profile grew, Wales took on the role of the project's spokesman and promoter through speaking engagements and media appearances. Wales has been historically cited as the co-founder of Wikipedia but he disputes the "co-" designation, asserting that he is the sole founder of Wikipedia. Wales' work developing Wikipedia, which has become the world's largest encyclopedia, prompted Time magazine to name him in its 2006 list of the world's most influential people.
Born in Huntsville, Alabama, Wales attended a small private school, then a university preparation school, eventually attaining a bachelor's degree and master's degree in finance. During his graduate studies he taught at two universities.
Question: What do you make of the rivalry between Google and Microsoft?
Jimmy Wales: Well, it’s interesting, because they’re very different corporate cultures, they’re very different companies. Microsoft still has this massive cash cow business of the operating system that doesn’t look likely to be dislodged all that much in the near future. Certainly, I would expect to see, you know, a drop in their market share from-- I don’t know, what is it now? 90 percent plus? To 85 percent, or 80 percent. But that hardly means the death of Microsoft. And they’ve struggled on the web in lots of different ways. You know, when I talk about the quality of search, I always say, “Yahoo!, Google and Ask seem to be very similar quality,” but I don’t mention MSN because their search sucks, right? And I think it’s gotten a little better. I need to look at it again every few months just to see, but yeah, I keep looking, and it keeps sucking, so they’ve struggled in that area, but they’ve got tons and tons of money. They’ve got a really-- they’re tenacious, right? So never count Microsoft out. On the other hand, I think a big part of what is a problem that Microsoft faces is that the internet is a consumer brand space. And as such, Microsoft is gonna have trouble, because their brand image doesn’t’ really fit the web very well.
Recorded on: 04/30/2008
Jimmy Wales on the Microsoft-Google Rivalry.