I read today a great article called The Ballmer Days are Over, in which Ben Brooks describes some of the problems that Microsoft is currently facing. Here is my take on Microsoft:
I used to work as a v- for Microsoft for a few years and then I cofounded a company that provided vendor services for them (7 years total – and already left the company), so I know my way around Microsoft.
All the time I worked there I was never able to understand why everything was so bureaucratic and slow… innovation didn’t seem like the norm.
MS Consulting IMHO is not what it could be, I worked there too and they have extremely good technical people, but the only thing a lot of them seem to be passionate about is being a Microsoft employee and not building amazing stuff. Besides, a lot of them look down on other companies when they shouldn’t.
They are too arrogant about other products, when instead they should respect and even fear the competition to be able to build something amazing. I mean, even a fat guy can run fast if you put a lion behind him.
The innovation I saw (I was an evangelist for Windows 64 bit in the DPE group – you can see all the places I presented here
) was usually centered around the technology, not the user. All projects were about “let’s use this technology
” but didn’t care much about what was really important, which is “why would the customer care to use my product”.
Also there was a mentality of “let’s build it and see if it sticks to the wall”, which is a good approach only if people are committed to what they are building, the attitude that I saw was not correct given that most people were only interested in keeping their steady jobs with MS and not take any chances. This is good to pay your mortgage, but not to make history.
Oh, and Skype. Why buy what they already have with Live. Oh I know, because Skype is built better. Anyway, maybe they bought it because they recognized that they couldn’t do it right like Skype did. I have no idea…
And last but not least, sadly within Microsoft people are usually not fired. They are moved from one group to another. So ironically, if someone gets hired into a group but that person does not live to the expectations, then that guy GETS RECOMMENDED so that he/she is hired by another group! This is something I’ve never been able to understand!!!! Recommend someone because he/she is not good, so that you pass the problem along to another department!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Microsoft and I am a total Microsoft technology guy. Just that it feels like they are just hanging to the train but not pushing it…. or even better, they could be pulling it!