Rule 101 of Competitive strategy – managing preannouncements

I was away in Orlando with the family last week on vacation. Which explains the very light posting. I had some time to think about the Facebook, Myspace and Google (OpenSocial & Social Graph and GPhone) announcements.

One thing struck me as odd. Why was there SO much around the Nov 5th time frame. Its certainly slow news month.

Then I learned that Facebook actually “ pre-announced” that it would preview its new social ads and platform a few weeks ago. Google had enough time to respond and attempt to one-up them.

Actually thanks to Facebook, Google had over 3 weeks to plan and execute their announcements so they could “steal the thunder”.

I am positive Google was working on the Gphone and OpenSocial announcements long before they got to know about the Facebook announcement, but it begs the question, did they time it just before so they could reduce the limelight from Facebook?

Most cases announcements such as the one Facebook did are kept under the wraps for a long time so as to not “tip the hat” to the competition. The counterpoint is that you build a sense of excitement – a la Apple with the iPhone, but even Apple’s very good about managing their announcements.

This is probably a very good lesson in making sure you dont give anything away for your competition to steal your thunder.