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The iPad has captured much of the technology coverage so far this year. It is a poorly named copy of a product that Microsoft launched nearly a decade ago, based on a concept Steve Jobs personally thought was stupid: the tablet computer. Yet Apple has effectively convinced the market that its device is new, different and desirable. Microsoft had Flash before Adobe; it had a touchscreen phone before the iPhone; and it effectively had an iPod touch before there even was an iPod. In all cases, the problem to overcome wasn't competitive -- it was institutional stupidity.
You present an interesting thought however I differ in your conclusions /analysis. You are too much influenced by recent NYT article.
The infighting amongst Sr.Mgmt is not necessarily bad. Most of these people (at Microsoft) grew up in corporate world learning exactly that. I am certain that it exists at Apple and Google as well.
The real reason in my humble opinion is:
- Microsoft Sr. mgmt. does nor see sufficient opportunity to succeed (at VP/team lead level) and hence leading to infighting at the cost of company.
- Lack of strategy in products from leadership wrt to product Feature vs functionality. This is important and based on your analysis not sure if you understand this.
- Lack of Cross-pollination within various teams at MSFT. Leveraging from each others success is not a Microsoft trait but very visible in Apple products.
Sour grapes Rob. I don't argue with your premise, but the devil is in the details.
The iPad is not a copy of anything Microsoft has produced. The Tablet PC project took Windows, replaced the mouse with a finger, and left it to the hardware manufactures to figure out what to do with it. There was no innovation, no compelling reason to adopt it, except in a few niche markets. The iPad will quickly outsell Tablet PC.
Microsoft had Flash before Adobe? What was it called? I have no idea.
At least with the phone and mp3 player I can identify Microsoft products. Although, I can't say I've seen a Zune in the wild, except to see one given away as a door prize at a Microsoft event. The Zune came out after the iPod and never sold well. You can certainly blame infighting for the switch from PlaysforSure to Zune Marketplace.
The phone came out before the iPhone and was very successful. Now, phone sales are off. The phone is losing market share to iPhone, Android, RIMM and probably Symbian. Mobile World Congress and MIX better have some good news because the infighting there has been publicized. Microsoft's biggest problems are mostly outside the company. They have tough competition on multiple fronts.
Windows Mobile and IE6 are both examples of successful products, but products that were not supported or enhanced in a timely manor. Perhaps that's when the infighting took over for those project teams.
No doubt, infighting has hurt Microsoft's ability to compete. But Microsoft's competition is doing some amazing things, and Microsoft is having a hard time keeping up. Even with the "Child Executive", they don't have anyone to follow. Ray Ozzie is a great guy, but he is focused on corporate customers and cloud services. Microsoft is not competing in the consumer market like they use to. Microsoft will need more than a child executive to get back on track.
Posted by: RobEnderle
2010-02-08 11:33:14 In reply to: InfoDave
Your point that even with the elimination of infighting and self destructive behavior Microsoft's path wouldn't be an easy one is certainly valid. But at least they'd have a chance, right now they lack that chance.
Chrome Effects was Microsoft's "Flash". There was actually a book written about its failure. In a way it came back a decade later as Silverlight.