Journal de bord

vendredi 5 février 2010

Creative Destruction

[…] Microsoft has become a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator. Its products are lampooned, often unfairly but sometimes with good reason. Its image has never recovered from the antitrust prosecution of the 1990s. Its marketing has been inept for years; remember the 2008 ad in which Bill Gates was somehow persuaded to literally wiggle his behind at the camera?

While Apple continues to gain market share in many products, Microsoft has lost share in Web browsers, high-end laptops and smartphones. Despite billions in investment, its Xbox line is still at best an equal contender in the game console business. It first ignored and then stumbled in personal music players until that business was locked up by Apple.

Microsoft’s huge profits — $6.7 billion for the past quarter — come almost entirely from Windows and Office programs first developed decades ago. Like G.M. with its trucks and S.U.V.’s, Microsoft can’t count on these venerable products to sustain it forever. Perhaps worst of all, Microsoft is no longer considered the cool or cutting-edge place to work. There has been a steady exit of its best and brightest.

What happened? Unlike other companies, Microsoft never developed a true system for innovation. Some of my former colleagues argue that it actually developed a system to thwart innovation. Despite having one of the largest and best corporate laboratories in the world, and the luxury of not one but three chief technology officers, the company routinely manages to frustrate the efforts of its visionary thinkers.

[…] Part of the problem is a historic preference to develop (highly profitable) software without undertaking (highly risky) hardware. This made economic sense when the company was founded in 1975, but now makes it far more difficult to create tightly integrated, beautifully designed products like an iPhone or TiVo. And, yes, part of the problem has been an understandable caution in the wake of the antitrust settlement. Timing has also been poor — too soon on Web TV, too late on iPods.

Internal competition is common at great companies. It can be wisely encouraged to force ideas to compete. The problem comes when the competition becomes uncontrolled and destructive.

The New-York Times, Dick Brass, vice president at Microsoft from 1997 to 2004: “Microsoft’s Creative Destruction”.

1. Le 5 février 2010,

Article fascinant, mais qui ne répond pas à l’une des questions qu’on se pose à la lecture : pourquoi les défauts, très bien identifiés, de Microsoft, ne se retrouvent pas chez Apple (ou toute autre boîte de taille comparable) ?

2. Le 5 février 2010,
Laurent Gloaguen

@Raveline : je ne pense pas que ces défauts soient unique à Microsoft. On doit même pouvoir les retrouver dans pas mal de grandes entreprises dans d’autres secteurs que l’informatique.

3. Le 5 février 2010,

In early 2000, and towards the end of Y2K, the corporate landscape was changing. All the small teams were being eaten up by these uber teams — complete with politics, backstabbing and posturing. I wanted no part of it. Even today MS is mostly Windows, mobile and Office. Decisions I used to make in 10 minutes, took weeks in Office.

4. Le 5 février 2010,
Off Topic

Manger trop de hamburgers peut vous rendre trop gros. Trop con aussi (lire les commentaires)?

5. Le 5 février 2010,

Dommage que ce ne soit pas un article de blog. Ca ferait 4.000 commentaires en 24h et nécessité de fermer le fil.

6. Le 5 février 2010,
Karl, La Grange

Les carnets Web vraiment un truc de vieux cons

7. Le 6 février 2010,
Off Topic

Dans certains pays développés, tu prends un an de prison pour pas grand-chose, parce que même si c’est pas grand chose, c’est quand même grave, c’est Bush Jr. qui le dit.

8. Le 7 février 2010,
Off Topic

Arrington nous fait visiter les bas fonds de l’humanité.

Blah ? Touitter !