July 27, 2012

THE ENTIRE COMPANY WAS BUILT ON THE THEFT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY...:

Microsoft's Lost Decade : Once upon a time, Microsoft dominated the tech industry; indeed, it was the wealthiest corporation in the world. But since 2000, as Apple, Google, and Facebook whizzed by, it has fallen flat in every arena it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc. Talking to former and current Microsoft executives, Kurt Eichenwald finds the fingers pointing at C.E.O. Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates's successor, as the man who led them astray.(Kurt Eichenwald, August 2012, Vanity Fair)

The story of Microsoft's lost decade could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success. For what began as a lean competition machine led by young visionaries of unparalleled talent has mutated into something bloated and bureaucracy-laden, with an internal culture that unintentionally rewards managers who strangle innovative ideas that might threaten the established order of things.

By the dawn of the millennium, the hallways at Microsoft were no longer home to barefoot programmers in Hawaiian shirts working through nights and weekends toward a common goal of excellence; instead, life behind the thick corporate walls had become staid and brutish. Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as key to career success.

In those years Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to cripple competitors, but--because of a series of astonishingly foolish management decisions--the competitors being crippled were often co-workers at Microsoft, instead of other companies. Staffers were rewarded not just for doing well but for making sure that their colleagues failed. As a result, the company was consumed by an endless series of internal knife fights. Potential market-busting businesses--such as e-book and smartphone technology--were killed, derailed, or delayed amid bickering and power plays.

That is the portrait of Microsoft depicted in interviews with dozens of current and former executives, as well as in thousands of pages of internal documents and legal records.

"They used to point their finger at IBM and laugh," said Bill Hill, a former Microsoft manager. "Now they've become the thing they despised."

Today, Microsoft stands at a precipice, an all-or-nothing opportunity that may be Ballmer's last chance to demonstrate to Wall Street that he is the right man with the right plan to lead the sprawling enterprise into the future. With Surface, the recently unveiled tablet, Windows 8, Windows Phone 7, Windows Server 2012, and Xbox 720 in the offing, he could be on the verge of proving his strategies--including last year's controversial, $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype. But whether these succeed or not, executives say, the Microsoft of old, the nimble player that captured the passions of a generation of techies and software engineers, is dead and gone.

"I see Microsoft as technology's answer to Sears," said Kurt Massey, a former senior marketing manager. "In the 40s, 50s, and 60s, Sears had it nailed. It was top-notch, but now it's just a barren wasteland. And that's Microsoft. The company just isn't cool anymore."

Cool is what tech consumers want. Exhibit A: today the iPhone brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft.

How was it supposed to survive once governments started enforcing the laws?
Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted by at July 27, 2012 5:31 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« WHICH IS TO UNDERESTIMATE W AND THE UR AND OVERESTIMATE IKE: | Main | JUST LIE TO US: »