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Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by rdowns, Feb 4, 2010.
A good read. My apologies to *LTD*.
Summary: The microsoft culture is lack of visionary thinking and repression of innovation.
MS didn't create anything useful in recent years, so it's really not creative destruction.
I feel bad for the OS X teams...
Good read and does makes sense given the various other articles about MS and what we've seen from them. They've never really innovated anything in their history. They took pre-existing products and made them better or just made them.
Sounds to me like they have too many bosses running around.
I don't know whether this is the exact problem, but it has been obvious for quite some time that Microsoft's corporate culture is in trouble for a long while. Barely any innovation has come out of Redmond in a decade.
Their biggest step was probably the switch from Win98 to Win2000/XP, but that was more about fixing what was clearly broken, not real innovation, at least in term of what is visible to the end user. It is sad really, with that much money and resources, you'd think they would be at least as interesting as Google.
Wow, interesting article. It sounds like a lack of unified vision and too much pride on the part of various internal groups. Kinda sad to tell you the truth.
MS = Windows.
That's all. Sadly, that's far from enough.
"As they marvel at Apples new iPad tablet computer, the technorati seem to be focusing on where this leaves Amazons popular e-book business," Dick Brass writes for The New York Times. "But the much more important question is why Microsoft, Americas most famous and prosperous technology company, no longer brings us the future, whether its tablet computers like the iPad, e-books like Amazons Kindle, smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone, search engines like Google, digital music systems like iPod and iTunes or popular Web services like Facebook and Twitter."
Did they *ever* bring us into the future??
Oh, hold on . . . Xbox and Natal. Yeah, that's pretty cool.
....and Windows Vista of corse!
"How much do YOU think this advanced operating system is worth?" - Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft does do a lot of research. Unlike Apple, they're fairly open and accessible. They even have a website where you can read much of their results.
Unfortunately, they rarely bring it to market. But then, they're not really a hardware company. They usually expect others to build devices and license the software from them... and modify it as needed.
From what I've heard over the grapevine, a lot of their trouble is that they've moved so much work offshore. From experience, I can tell you that doing that plus hiring a lot of cheap H1B Visa holders, is a sure fire path to lack of real innovation.
Get rid of your experienced engineers, and you end up with kid stuff every time. Look at Apple on the other hand: they listen to the 50 year old guys, from CEO to designers.
Very interesting. It reminds me of another article, I think it was on Appleinsider, which talked about how Microsoft had 3 teams developing a mobile OS competing for resources and attention (WM, Zune, and Pink).
Steve Jobs had a good insight in this 1994 Rolling Stone Interview:
Another problem is Steve Ballmer. Hearing him talk is like listening to a strategy consultant (nothing against consultants). He's always speaking in terms of new markets, devices, platforms, ventures, partnerships, acquisitions, ect. Now maybe my perception is wrong, but it just feels like he has no real passion for technology. To him it's just a big business to run. Also, like some Mike Myers' characters, he has trouble controlling THE VOLUME OF HIS VOICE.
Sounds like Microsoft became a victim of its own success from internal competition. I have read that Apple is in the early stages of that. It secrecy between departments is starting to cause problems and it suffers from a massive burn out and a common thing I have read is in the end both companies look great on a resume the internal workings are starting to cause problems.
How the companies started and early on worked great and was a great way to work but now they are becoming to large and internal problems will be the undoing. it looks like Microsoft more recently is trying to fix the problem but it is in such bad shape it will take a long time. Apple on the other problems are getting worse but then again the cracks for apple are only beginning to forum and you have to look for them. I hope at for Apple they solve there problems before they get out of hand.
Where did you read this?
I'm not sure what your third sentence even means.
Apple has been dictating the future for a number of years now. They're really the only company able to execute effectively and in a timely manner on their strategies. And the results are things like the App Store, iPhone, iPad, etc. There are no internal problems at Apple because the company is run so well and so tightly. During Steve Jobs' absence the industry marvelled at how Cook took the reins so smoothly and how the company didn't miss a beat. Apple is an organization that is a model of effective management, in all its divisions. Why would you even compare them to MS??
But we're all waiting on more of your unbelievably prescient and penetrating "I read it somewhere" insight.
Look at the outward evidence - at the products, when they hit the market, what new ideas Apple is floating and how they implement them. Apple puts great products into people's hands. MS makes a Big Ass Table(TM), followed up with excuses about its Mobile Strategy (or lack thereof), and shows us some HP "damage-control" slate product running some awful version of Windows. Sad.
It's pretty easy to see who's got the bigger problems.
I think that Apple's problems are already out of hand, but they don't realize it yet. All you need to do is look at the recent 27" iMac screens to understand that the marketing team isn't in sync with the engineering team, and the P.R. team is at such a loss for an explanation that they've taken to buying customer's loyalty.
If you go to an Apple store, Apple is so focused on their employee numbers - % who sell Pro Care or Apple Care, that you can't just learn about a computer anymore. It "Just Works", but only with Applecare and procare and mobile me...
At least Microsoft has some decent products like the 360 (even if it is an engineering disaster) or the Zune, they just need to prune everything that's not so important somehow.
This post comes to mind as well.
Issues with Apple products now and then are nothing out of the ordinary. Those issues were always there.
In late November 2003, a number of iBook G4 users reported display problems with their laptops. In December 2003, a group of users headed by Michael Johnson and Bill Owen sought to file a class action suit against Apple. In response, Apple initiated the "iBook Logic Board Repair Extension Program" in January 2004, which covered the expense of repairing affected iBooks for three years.
The iBook G4 seemed to suffer from similar display problems as the iBook G3, but was not covered by the repair extension program. Owners of iBooks that required expensive repairs for these problems submitted new class action lawsuits in December 2006.
Yet Apple still manages to remain #1 in customer satisfaction year after year, as well as customer service.
One of the items in your list can hardly be called "decent" by your own admission, and the other is a failure.
I'm confused.... you put the words Zune and decent product in the same sentence.
I never said outside to the market it is there. I said they are in the early stages of hurting themselves. Their own secrecy between departments causes lots of problems. Different teams do not know what others are working on and if something group A is working on might be completely set back last min by group B because of secrecy.
Internally apple keeps some pretty insane deadlines and forces it on the different teams and all that pressure on the different teams is causing burn out problems on the employees.
Yeah you get great productivity out of employees for short burst but long term you start killing off your best and they move on to other companies that do not put so much pressure on the employees. The internal workings of the company start doing the damage to the out side.
The internal problems have not started to hurt the business yet but it starts adding up over time. Burning out your employees is not a good.
Apple pressure and secrecy will be their undoing.
An aging dinosaur that lost its edge years ago
Meet the market's biggest losers
4 of 10
Loss: $390 billion
Peak market cap: $642 billion (September 2000)
Recent market cap: $252 billion
Microsoft remains the second-biggest U.S. company by market capitalization (after Exxon Mobil), in spite of the sharp decline of its stock. Microsoft has slumped even though it, like Intel, has spent tens of billions of dollars to buy back shares. Microsoft said in the fall of 2008 it had spent $115 billion over five years on stock repurchases and dividends -- a period during which the stock was flat, even with the company's bid.
Huh! Microsoft--open and accessible? How your figure that?
Even if you were correct--and you are not--then it would be irrelevant to the topic of this thread. This thread is about Microsoft's lack of innovation.
Remember that Microsoft's founding product, Microsoft BASIC, was developed as a result of a Dumpster-diving expedition at the Digital Equipment Corporation where Bill Gates worked while he attended Harvard. Microsoft required access to Apple code to get Windows off the ground. Windows Media is based on stolen QuickTime code. ClearType, Microsoft's proudest innovation of the past 20 years, first appeared on the Apple ][ in 1977.
The takeaway message is that Microsoft's lack of innovation is deeply ingrained in the company's DNA. The fact that it employs individual scientists and engineers who may have good ideas notwithstanding. Microsoft cannot resist its congenital fear that someone somewhere outside the company may have a better idea than anything that its own engineers could ever come up with.
The brilliant ideas by its own engineers are cast aside in favor of a purchase or theft of ideas on the outside. However, I have neither sympathy nor respect for these Microsoft employees. They could leave Microsoft for employment with another company or they can start companies on their own. However, they choose to remain with Microsoft and suckle that teat.
They get what they deserve.
The only innovation coming out of MS is their lawyers.
They've honed the art of pounding any small competitor into oblivion.
Half of the technology was bullied from much smaller players and sometimes outright stolen in their early days.
I have no sympathy for them. They are doomed to mediocrity; on one hand calling for congress to dump money into the sciences since nobody wants to take up computers in school, all the while replacing Local Talent with cheap offshore resources. They are the worlds leader in good enough software...
The industry is quickly bypassing them, but nobody has the breadth of solutions they have. Apple makes cool stuff, MS is boring, but gets the job done. They aren't going away, but they are dying a painful death in the consumer business.