Posted by Calixte Pictet | 0 comments
Microsoft’s creative destruction
An Op-Ed by Dick Brass–a vice president at Microsoft from 1997 to 2004–was published in the New York Times four days ago. In the article entitled “Microsoft’s Creative Destruction,” Mr. Brass gives his opinion on Microsoft’s future. You’ve guessed it: it’s not bright. He also explains why Microsoft seems to consistantly fail to innovate. It’s a must read, but another article was written that same day.
It’s a blog post on Microsoft’s official blog (Oooooh!) written by Microsoft’s very own president of communications (or something like that), Frank Shaw. It is a direct answer to D. Brass’ article, and attacks a few arguments that Mr. Brass pointed out, primarily that the corporate response to ClearType technology is not what Brass says it was and that the Xbox was and is the best and most innovative game console out there. But what his blog post doesn’t do is answer to the most important problem Dick Brass underlined: corporate culture. According to Dick, Microsoft’s real problem is infighting, projects competing for financing and attention instead of working together to create a great product. This may be the difference between Microsoft and companies like Apple.
Microsoft has had its share of criticism for a while now. Windows is still perceived as a copy-cat operating system, and will still be for a while, no matter what Microsoft does to change that image. However, this situation was not a problem ten years ago because Windows had no true mainstream competitor. Now, its desktop OS market is wounded by Apple’s fast rise, Linux is well established in the server business, IE is taking a hit and even its office suite is feeling the competition’s weight. Microsoft is a company that likes to fight on all fronts, but it seems that it stays a minor players in every market where it doesn’t have a historical advance, and even these seem unstable.
As I see it, Microsoft is not completely lagging behind. It’s still a powerful tech company that innovates and releases good products. However, it rarely is the best at anything, and when it is, commercial success is not guaranteed. Redmond is still capable of releasing great products, but it doesn’t have the same responsiveness as other companies such as Apple and Google. Is that due to a bad corporate culture and constant infighting? I do not work at Microsoft, and I never did, but I strongly invite you to read both the original Op-Ed in the New York Times and Microsoft’s answer. You tell me: do you believe the 93 000 employee-strong company still innovating?
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