Ex-Microsoft executive Dick Brass shreds his former employer in a New York Times Op-Ed, saying a “dysfunctional corporate culture,” has turned Microsoft into “a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator.”
Microsoft should be eating Apple and Google’s lunch, but silos within the company have crippled it.
There are thousands of brilliant engineers and three CTOs, so smarts aren’t a problem. Getting all the divisions to play nice is.
Says Brass: “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.”
Here’s one example:
Another example: When we were building the tablet PC in 2001, the vice president in charge of Office at the time decided he didn’t like the concept. The tablet required a stylus, and he much preferred keyboards to pens and thought our efforts doomed. To guarantee they were, he refused to modify the popular Office applications to work properly with the tablet. So if you wanted to enter a number into a spreadsheet or correct a word in an e-mail message, you had to write it in a special pop-up box, which then transferred the information to Office. Annoying, clumsy and slow.
So once again, even though our tablet had the enthusiastic support of top management and had cost hundreds of millions to develop, it was essentially allowed to be sabotaged. To this day, you still can’t use Office directly on a Tablet PC. And despite the certainty that an Apple tablet was coming this year, the tablet group at Microsoft was eliminated.