Microsoft's Creative Destruction, words from Ex-VP D. Brass

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Post 3+ Months Ago

Dick Brass, Vice President at Microsoft from 1997-2004, speaks out regarding Microsoft's self-destructive behaviors that stifle creativity and the negative corporate attitude surrounding the Silicon Valley giant. I'll take it all with a grain of salt because it is just one man's side of the story, but it certainly does speak volumes on why such a large, previously innovative and very successful company is struggling with market share.

Quote:
Unlike other companies, Microsoft never developed a true system for innovation...For example, early in my tenure, our group of very clever graphics experts invented a way to display text on screen called ClearType...Although we built it to help sell e-books, it gave Microsoft a huge potential advantage for every device with a screen. But it also annoyed other Microsoft groups that felt threatened by our success.

Engineers in the Windows group falsely claimed it made the display go haywire when certain colors were used. The head of Office products said it was fuzzy and gave him headaches. The vice president for pocket devices was blunter: he’d support ClearType and use it, but only if I transferred the program and the programmers to his control. As a result, even though it received much public praise, internal promotion and patents, a decade passed before a fully operational version of ClearType finally made it into Windows.

Not everything that has gone wrong at Microsoft is due to internecine warfare. Part of the problem is a historic preference to develop (highly profitable) software without undertaking (highly risky) hardware...And, yes, part of the problem has been an understandable caution in the wake of the antitrust settlement. Timing has also been poor — too soon on Web TV, too late on iPods.


Source: NY Times


Psst, before you make that "Good, I hope they fail miserably" remark, you may want to read at least the first 3 paragraphs.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • kc0tma
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I does sound like this guy has a bug up his butt. If cleartype made stuff go snafu with certain colors the logical thing to do would observe and react, not just throw the project out. And I don't really think it is too soon for web TV like he says, by being early they can legitimately say they were some of the front runners developing and advancing a technology.
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That may well be the best written assessment and criticism of Microsoft I've ever read. From what I know, it's a very compelling argument not only for MS, but for a lot of companies these days.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That would apply to any company who's profits are for the benefit of the share holders. If you have a small business they'll embrace ideas but with big business there are too many people involved in the decision making process so you end up moving two steps forward and one step back.
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I'm not sure I understand your differentiation, kc. Aren't a small business' profits for the benefit its owners? Can't people in a large company embrace ideas too?

I would say the article applies to any company that is large enough to foster pockets of competing powers, whether it's divisions, groups, departments or even just individuals.

I thought the article spoke to the entire mentality of corporate structure in today's world.
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Lets say you have "John and Joe's Computer Consulting Firm" where they are the owners and the only two employees, they make all the decisions and work together on everything. But with Microsoft there are hundreds or thousands of share holders and developers and divisions and everything, and with that many people involved in the decision making process it slows stuff down and halts productivity. The kind of thing like the guy saying he would support the project if he could run it probably wouldn't happen in a small business entrepreneurship.
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Ah! Okay. I was defining small business differently.
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You were thinking small business compared to MS! Like Walmart or McDonalds! :lol:
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:lol: No I was thinking a business that employed non-owners. Like restaurants or web developments firms.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Let me clarify my standing in Microsoft. I like micorosoft products... most of them. I hate MSIE (The internet browser). That's the only product from Microsoft that I hate. I've never worked with anything else besides Microsoft Windows 98, Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Word and their mouses and keyboards. That's all that I can remember. Of those I only hate MSIE.

I wish MSIE to be successful, becuase I'm a lot better with their OS than with Macs. They should kick MSIE out and allow users to instal a browser of their own, while Firefox being the standard browser.

I personally don't know about MSIE being self-destructive... maybe they are, but I don't know and if they are, then I hope that they get out... I don't want to have an outdated Microsoft OS.

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