I initially started writing a long version of this post, doing some background research so that I could present my comments in the proper context. However the fact that I recently lost access to my IT equipment (Iâ€™ll get it soon, but not just yet) as well as the realization that the topic does not deserve such a lengthy discussion, I decided to simply put it out there. Spurred by Microsoftâ€™s Ballmer thoughts in this Times Online article and thanks to Marc Andreessenâ€™s colorful blog entry I quote:
â€œI think these things [social networks] are going to have some legs, and yet thereâ€™s a faddishness, a faddish nature about anything that basically appeals to younger people,â€ Mr Ballmer told Times Online yesterday.
From my point of view, Microsoft has not been a machine of innovation for a long time. It seems that Microsoft engineers and execs are simply trying to play catch up with whatever is out there (Xbox/PS2, IPod/Zune, Google/MS Live) at the time. The behemoths of software like Windows and Office keep the cash flow strong, which pretty much allows the company to fail many times over, trying to copy their rivals. But to me this is a sad state of affairs.
Thereâ€™s supposed to be a Microsoft research facility in the UK with a bunch of PhDs who receive a billion US$ a year doing non-product related research. I believe that because Iâ€™ve seen a presentation by one of these guys and they are indeed allowed to roam free and do any project that fits their fancy. But is anything coming out? Mind you, this is not a criticism on this type of research. However I do feel that a link is needed, between the research and the business side of things.
Speaking of the business side, when Ray Ozzie came on board, he spoke of shorter product lifecycles, and more innovative stuff happening. A few things have happened, like Silverlight, but when I read comments like the above from Steve Ballmer, the companyâ€™s CEO, it seems to me that the mentality which he expresses is still rooted deeply within the organization. Ozzieâ€™s new fresh attitude might not be enough to change that.tags: analysis
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