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Old 07-31-2008, 03:09 AM
JonDeutsch
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3
Default Microsoft will fail if they follow

Ballmer is unfortunately a man without a vision. Ever since becoming CEO, MSFT has been adrift, and it's pretty astonishing how little he has been in the spotlight as the problem at Microsoft.

Microsoft will utterly fail at following Apple's lead in approach to total software+hardware control to ensure a great end-to-end experience. Why? Because Microsoft was not designed to be that kind of company. There is just too much cultural DNA to fight. The culture is great at some things, and pathetic at others. Front-end development, generally, is not MSFT's strong suit. Their background is primarily in application development tools, operating systems, office tools, networking, and information-rich consumer software.

The only time they successfully copied Apple was with Windows 3.0-XP.

Microsoft needs a VISION of how they will uniquely contribute to technology in the 21st century. And I don't think copying Apple constitutes a viable vision. Sure, the user experience is becoming increasingly important for all technology. So, nobody is going to argue with them focusing on that.

But, how should MSFT faciliate this? MSFT has a great philosophy of enabling innovation by shipping out basic software and having ISVs and VARs optimize the baseline technology. Distributed innovation is still the best way to ensure the best innovation.

So, what MSFT needs to do is not to become Apple II (get it?), but, rather thread the needle and use their stong suit, but evolve it to ensure user experience excellence.

How?

Set better and stronger standards and constraints on the baseline technology from which ISVs can innovate. Which also means build better templated tools within the baseline to make it easy to stay "inside the lines" and harder to go by the wayside in the experience.

It's templates, it's style guides, it's enforcement. When you give the development community better tools, they'll more readily stay within the standards.

Don't do a closed-room solve like the iPhone store. But give users the option to select "approved" applications. Just don't kill the open innovation culture that's out there today, which ensures your enthusiast audience stays interested.

People want choices. So, if MSFT is going to move toward the Apple model, they better keep some competitive advantages beyond the Microsoft "brand." That's not enough (see Zune v. iPod). The Zune is not successful because it tried too hard to be the iPod.

There needs to be some vision within Microsoft to not just be a bigger, badder Apple. Microsoft needs to have the vision to upgrade itself to be 21st-century compatible.

Jon
 
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