The openness of business software

As someone who mostly invests in consumer products, I guess I never imagined writing a post with the words ‘business software’ in the title.

But Aaron Levie’s tweet today got me thinking.

All these cloud products have substantial overlap and compete with each other. Google would love to have their users skip Box and use Google Drive. But they are building their Gsuite products to seamlessly work with their competitors.

Microsoft is doing the same thing. Azure works with Microsoft competitors. And Slack is integrating Microsoft 365 apps.

In the consumer space, we used to see collaboration. I’m old enough to remember Instagram’s location integration with Foursquare, or Instagram photos showing up natively in Twitter.  But these integrations are less apparent these days.

Vertical integration seems like the priority. I can’t imagine Apple iMessage on Android in my lifetime. Nor does Apple still doesn’t allow Google Maps and Chrome to be treated as first class citizens. Apple’s Home Pod doesn’t work with Spotify. Google’s OneBox does nasty things for the open web. Google’s smart home products don’t integrate with HomeKit. Netflix doesn’t seem to have any interest in integrating with Apple’s TV app. (I could cite more examples about Facebook’s behavior but what’s the point, really)

Don’t get me wrong. The enterprise space has plenty of sharp elbows. Microsoft is trying to clone Slack, just like MS Planner is cloned Trello and bundled it with Office365.

But I am truly curious why we do see so much collaboration in the enterprise space. I suppose big enterprise IT budgets has tremendous power. But we consumers have power too. So let’s not forget it.