"A strategic buyer is some guy that pays too much. And he wants to justify it, so he says it’s strategic. I have never understood being a strategic buyer. Every time somebody calls me up and says, 'We think, maybe, you’re the logical strategic buyer for that,' I hang up faster than Charlie would.... The idea that we’re going to find a business to buy from some guy who, from the moment he bought it a few years ago, has been thinking, 'How do I get out of this thing?' 'What do I do to have...those figures for a couple years look a certain way so that I can get the maximum amount in a couple years?' We’re just not going to make any attractive buys there. We won’t trust the figures. What we like is a business where the guy before was running with the idea of running it a hundred years, and taking care of the business in every way possible and was not contemplating sale, but, for one reason or another, finally needs to monetize the company. " --Warren Buffett (2006)
You know, in the software world, in particular for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets. So, you know, the greatest mistake ever is the whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is, [meaning] Android is the standard non-Apple phone form platform. That was a natural thing for Microsoft to win.
It really is winner take all. If you’re there with half as many apps or 90% as many apps, you’re on your way to complete doom. There’s room for exactly one non-Apple operating system, and what’s that worth? $400 billion that would be transferred from company G [Google] to company M [Microsoft].
And it’s amazing to me, having made one of the greatest mistakes of all time — and there was this antitrust lawsuit and various things that, you know, our other assets, Windows, Office, are still very strong. So we are a leading company. If we got that one right, we would be the company. But oh well.
So this idea that just small differences can magnify themselves doesn’t exist for a lot of businesses. You know, if you’re a service business, it doesn’t exist. But for software platforms, it’s absolutely gigantic. And so that’s partly where you have the mentality of every night you think, ‘Am I screwing this up?’ And eventually, we did screw up a super important one. [Source]
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