[FoRK] Microsoft's reality problem

mdw at martinwills.com mdw at martinwills.com
Fri Feb 5 13:05:40 PST 2010

> A good high-level summary of the problems.
> http://www.infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/microsofts-reality-problem-238?page=0,2&source=IFWNLE_nlt_daily_2010-02-05
>> Just when Microsoft thought it couldn't get worse, ex-VP Dick Brass
>> has taken a sockful of manure and beaten his former employer with it.
>> February 05, 2010
>> Microsoft's reality problem
>> Apple's big iPad splash highlights Microsoft's failures as a company,
>> notes a former Redmond exec. And things are only going to get worse
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>> | Print | 4 comments|
>> 10 Recommendations
>> Just when Microsoft thought it couldn't get worse, ex-VP Dick Brass
>> has taken a sockful of manure and beaten his former employer with it.
>> [ Also on InfoWorld: At the other end of the spectrum, Apple's iPad
>> continues to stupefy and astound, much to Microsoft's consternation. |
>> Send your crazy-but-true tale of IT gone awry to
>> offtherecord at infoworld.com. If we publish it, anonymously, of course,
>> we'll send you a $50 American Express gift cheque. ]
>> In a New York Times opinion piece titled "Microsoft's Creative
>> Destruction," the recovering Redmondite dissects why a company like
>> Apple can introduce technology like the iPad to huzzahs, while
>> Microsoft's efforts to create a tablet PC over the years have earned
>> it nothing but guffaws. He writes:
>>     Microsoft has become a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator. Its
>> products are lampooned, often unfairly but sometimes with good reason.
>> Its image has never recovered from the antitrust prosecution of the
>> 1990s. Its marketing has been inept for years; remember the 2008 ad in
>> which Bill Gates was somehow persuaded to literally wiggle his behind
>> at the camera?
>>     While Apple continues to gain market share in many products,
>> Microsoft has lost share in Web browsers, high-end laptops and
>> smartphones. Despite billions in investment, its Xbox line is still at
>> best an equal contender in the game console business. It first ignored
>> and then stumbled in personal music players until that business was
>> locked up by Apple....Perhaps worst of all, Microsoft is no longer
>> considered the cool or cutting-edge place to work. There has been a
>> steady exit of its best and brightest.
>> ... Microsoft is GM, and Windows and Office are SUVs: hugely
>> profitable in their day, but dinosaurs sinking into the tar pits soon
>> after ...
>> Needless to say, Microsoft felt compelled to respond, via its Flack du
>> Flacks, Frank Shaw:
>>     At the highest level, we think about innovation in relation to its
>> ability to have a positive impact in the world. For Microsoft, it is
>> not sufficient to simply have a good idea, or a great idea, or even a
>> cool idea. We measure our work by its broad impact.... for a company
>> whose products touch vast numbers of people, what matters is
>> innovation at scale, not just innovation at speed.
>> In other words: What really matters is that a billion people use your
>> products, even if they mostly suck.
> ...
>> You have a reality problem. And the reality is that, despite whatever
>> people living inside the Microsoft bubble might think, the rest of the
>> world thinks you're a bully. And nobody likes bullies.
>> Another of Microsoft's big reality gaps is its insistence that it's
>> one of the great tech innovators. Sure, Microsoft Research can go head
>> to head with the best labs in the world; it's done some amazing
>> things. But Microsoft's success is built on imitation, not innovation.
>> Nearly everything it does, somebody else did first and usually better
>> -- from graphical interfaces to music players, personal finance
>> software, search engines, Web portals, virtualization software,
>> phones, and PDAs, you name it.
>> A third reality disconnect: The notion that Microsoft has made
>> computing easy and ubiquitous for the masses.
>> Microsoft designs software under the assumption that everyone who uses
>> it is either a gibbering simpleton or an engineer -- so it vacillates
>> between condescending and pointless dialog boxes and incomprehensible
>> error messages, with few stops in between.
> sdw

hmmm, when did Microsoft start building hardware (e.g. desktop computers,
tablet computers, smart phones etc..)?  They are a software company and
what hardware they do build (keyboards, mice, xbox etc) is actually built
by someone else...

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