Facebook Versa: Do GOOG and MSFT Face a Woulda Coulda Shoulda Moment

June 24, 2019

I saw a number of references to Bill Gates and his biggest regret. The “regret”, according to a person with whom I spoke at the ice skating rink, was not inventing or cloning a phone operating system. I think that meant, “I should have done the DOS thing again.” Information exchanged at a sportsplex is about as useful as Internet content from a “begging for dollars” publisher I assume.

As I thought about this alleged “I shoulda, coulda, woulda” approach, I spotted this write up from: “Bill Gates Says His Greatest Mistake Ever Was Failing to Create Android at Microsoft.” This article may have been the source for the guy in line with his kids. I was unaware of the fact that hockey players know how to read.

The shadow message, in my opinion, is:

Facebook moved forward to create its digital currency. Google and Microsoft have not. Both can. But the initiative or momentum is Facebook’s it seems.

I wonder if the senior management of Google and Microsoft, including the lower profile founders, will look back at Facebook’s decision and roll out the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” line?

What’s remarkable about Facebook’s move strikes me as the company’s actions when it faces its greatest social and political pushback. Some executives would have avoided doing much of anything.

This action triggered three thoughts:

  • Facebook doesn’t care what people think. He sees an opportunity and goes for it. Maybe this is good, maybe bad. But he did it. Action, not retreat.
  • Libra is an overt, aggressive act which is definitely going to throw politicos and competitors into a tailspin. The privacy angle is a big deal, but now a global currency, essentially outside the span of control of countries?
  • Microsoft did not seize on digital currency as it did DOS. Google did not seize this opportunity as it did search. It is possible that time does wither boldness and innovation’s fire?

Net net: Regulating Facebook is going to be interesting. Dithering is abdication. Perhaps Facebook will roll out a new flag featuring yet another hand gesture to customers, governments, and Google.

Google and Microsoft seem to be waiting for the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” bus to arrive.

Stephen E Arnold, June 24, 2019


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