July 20, 2006

Richard Brandt doesn’t suck!

Richard Brandt is under fire for predicting Google will eclipse Microsoft. Now, I haven’t seen him make the argument convincingly, because I haven’t seen him rebut the claim “Microsoft can change its ways in sufficient time.” But then, the criticism I have seen is a lot more naive and mean-spirited than that, accusing him of bias.

And that criticism I can emphatically refute. Richard was my editor once, and he proved himself to be one of the least biased guys I’ve ever worked with. He engaged my partner Linda Barlow and me to do a cover story for Upside Magazine on AOL, expecting it to be negative. (That was a reasonable expectation, based on my newsletter articles about AOL to that point.) But a funny thing happened — Linda and I drank the Kool-Aid. We came to believe that AOL was a top-notch dial-up ISP with superior user-created content (in those days, it was all those things), and that it would leverage these strengths into an enduring Disneyesque franchise (oops).

At one point, Richard sent email saying “C’mon, everybody knows AOL sucks!” and I shot back “AOL DOESN’T suck!!” Eventually, he ran the article with the title “AOL Doesn’t Suck!”, and was nice enough to say he considered it the best cover story Upside had ever run. That, my friends, is about as unbiased as one can get.

And whatever the family tragedy is that you’re referring to, Richard, you have Linda’s and my condolences on it.


2 Responses to “Richard Brandt doesn’t suck!”

  1. Richard Brandt on July 20th, 2006 3:06 pm

    Curt, thanks so much for your endorsement. It means a lot to me. At the rsk of sounding like a mutual admiration society (I know you disagree with me plenty) I do want to point out that the AOL article was impressive because it came our right before AOL made a spectacular turnaround, for all the reasons you mentioned in your article. That lasted until it merged with Time Warner. When everyone else had written AOL off, you predicted a turnaround that was on target. It made us look smart.

  2. The Monash Report»Blog Archive » Google vs. Microsoft on July 21st, 2006 5:54 am

    […] Richard Brandt responded to my challenge by explaining in some detail why he thinks Microsoft will never catch up with Google. His argument basically boils down to a very well-reasoned “Why would they? The reasons why Microsoft succeeded in overtaking almost all other PC software vendors don’t apply in this case.” And clearly Google has enormous resources to throw at businesses like search, plus a corporate culture that seems from the outside to be a lot more productive than Microsoft’s these days. […]

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