Few days ago I shared a post on how as companies grow they lose their innovation mojo. Here is the inside story of how that happened at Microsoft. Must read. [For the time constrained, here is a nice summary. Same soure.]
This is also a retelling of the Nokia and Xerox story.
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.
Politics and bad people management decisions are always at the fore front of such debacles. Imagine if a BMW or a Ferrari treated it’s assembly plant units differently. Won’t happen because those are the key assets.
So how bad is the situation?
One Apple product, something that didn’t exist five years ago, has higher sales than everything Microsoft has to offer. More than Windows, Office, Xbox, Bing, Windows Phone, and every other product that Microsoft has created since 1975. In the quarter ended March 31, 2012, iPhone had sales of $22.7 billion; Microsoft Corporation, $17.4 billion.
Microsoft is back doing some good work. Hope that is enough.