Product design, above all, is a bet. Apple understands this better than any other company. [The iPhone project] was a bet-the-company kind of bet. One that Nokia, which has sold hundreds of millions of phones over many years, never took. Neither did Microsoft. They would just as well release annual concept products to the public in order not to go through the pain of taking a bet.
No one really grasps how dysfunctional Microsoft has become. Yes Microsoft did spend half a billion dollars for, as near as anyone can tell, absolutely nothing. Not exactly the first time.
At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence.
Processes became more bureaucratic and individuals were less empowered to take action. In fact, oftentimes the incentive structure encouraged individual contributors not to do the right thing, but just to do what they committed to in their review the year prior. In other words, if you committed to include Feature A in Windows, and halfway through the year you realized that was a bad thing for Windows and Microsoft customers, the incentive structure actively discouraged you from trying to kill the feature, because then you wouldn’t have achieved your commitments.
I have to ask: If you perform an impressive engineering feat and no one buys the resulting product, is it still an impressive engineering feat? More to the point, is Microsoft about doing something because it can be done, or does it do what its customers need and want? If the answer is the former, please, do keep talking vaguely about engineering and do keep pushing Windows to every technological nook and cranny you can find. But understand, too, that when you wake from this engineering stupor, much of the world will have moved on to other companies and products.
No one questions CEO Steve Ballmer’s drive or intentions - but is his devotion to the company and its Windows business hurting its ability to innovate?
Steve Ballmer’s slavish devotion to Windows and Office has made them cash cows, but some say revenues have come at the expense of innovation.
Microsoft isn’t dead yet, nor will it be soon. It is however in the early stages of death and Ballmer isn’t going to the hospital — he’s running to go party some more. Microsoft needs a swift kick in the ass.
It’s time to give up on Microsoft’s word processor.
This company is becoming the McDonalds of computing. Cheap, mass products, available everywhere. No nutrients, no ideas, no culture.
In an environment characterized by simplicity, the mere fact that a square — within a predominantly square-riddled interface — cannot be drawn competently speaks volumes regarding the state of the Windows Phone atmosphere today.