Commodity SaaS

Nov 3, 2021

Today, Microsoft announced Microsoft Loops – a fairly blatant copy of Notion. Not only will it be part of the Office 365 bundle, but it will have deep integration with Teams and other Microsoft applications. How do you compete against something like this if you're Notion?

The odds are stacked against startups in this space. The big tech companies have:

  • Superior distribution (Office 365/Gsuite for productivity apps, AWS/Azure for cloud infrastructure)
  • Lower cost of goods sold (No cloud tax)
  • Can afford top tier talent to easily copy features

But startups also have advantages that these big companies don't.

  • Speed – projects like this are notoriously slow to get started within a company.
  • Innovation – Employees at large companies don't have the risk profile or incentives for big ideas. Downside is that the competitive advantage for most software innovation isn't as lasting as it was before.
  • Can target seemingly small markets – there are just too many adjacent markets for the big tech companies to enter, so they have to be selective.