Thursday, February 4, 2010

Microsoft Implementation Fail

I found this article about Microsoft's corporate culture enlightening.

I've often wondered why it is that Microsoft is able to come up with interesting ideas and then botch the actual implementation. They never seemed to have fleshed out the actual application of the idea or the markets they would target (or create, which only Apple has done since the GUI).

I used to think that they were just announcing things too early, testing the reaction and then discontinuing the then-too-abstract idea. Like their table (oh I'm sure that's going someplace) or, like the article said, the tablet. It's too bad the article doesn't speak of MSFT mobile, which they have multiple implementations of.

I'm certain that these projects just get eaten by the top brass. I've seen my share of managers who like to try and eat up as many staff and services as they can.

It reminds me that it's so import to systematize these types of projects and everyone needs to be onboard. They need to be given these resources and they especially need a top-top sponsor who can tell the resisting troublemakers to stand-down and get to work. Projects with multiple stakeholders such as new platforms (tables, tablets, phones) require all the software and hardware integration the company has. The tablet team should be able to talk to Balmer or someone else who might actually realize the strategic importance of the project.

Really that's just it, they don't take their own multi-million dollar research seriously. Apple's been apple go full-power in a strategic direction because they run it more tightly. They have a strategy to make a phone and everyone works together to design the hardware and have all the base software in place for the release.

It's likely that Cook or Jobs are overseeing these projects, and if the manager of iLife doesn't want to make an App or to do it the way the then-smalltime iPhone manager wants... he gets a talk. I don't mean to make it sound like it's a mafia, but I do think there is a little bit less autonomy at Apple when it comes down to it.

Unfortunately, this doesn't explain why their marketing is so terrible, but it might explain why not even MSFT products interwork very well.

MSFT just can't create markets, it barely enters them. They have literally always needed Apple or other companies to make the market for them. With the Zune they needed the iPod, with the xBox they needed decades of Sony, Sega and Nintendo, with the phone they needed Rim and probably even Palm.

And the only way they've ever tried to control markets is brute force. They threaten vendors to keep hardware with preinstalled Linux marginal or they pour on the money with loss-leaders that make them gain market share because they can afford a human life-time of loss. I'm not saying that's unique to them, or even morally a problem. But they've never really gone ahead and just simply made a vertically integrated product that just works. The products try to expand to absorb the entire market. Not just the young, not just the professional, not just designers but everyone, and they end up pleasing none of them.


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