On Microsoft's midlife crisis

by Volker Weber

Victoria Murphy talks about Microsoft's midlife crisis. I get forwarded this article by Microsoft employees, so there must be some truth in it. I would suggest it is the burden of bureaucracy that is bogging down middle management. "The fix is done in a day, but it takes months to get it to the customer".

Murphy is comparing Microsoft to the IBM of the late 80s. From the outside this is a fair comparison. IBM was dominating the market, and "nobody got fired for specifying IBM". Hated by many of their customers, there simply was no way around them. IBM would have died 5 years later if they had not changed. Microsoft at that time was "cool". If you wanted to get something done from the IBM people in your company you died in paperwork. With the Microsoft model, you got your own PC, your own software, and you wrote things yourself. Yes, at that time there were still lots of other players in the market, but the whole thing ran on DOS, some started using Windows, although it sucked until 3.0 came out.

Fast forward to today. You want to install software on your corporate PC? You go through IT and get sign-offs or, most of the times, you are being told that (a) this is not company standard and (b) you are not allowed to install anything. In many companies you actually can't. And if you can, you may f*ck up DLL hell and then get a spanking new image from IT support and everything you've done in the last year is gone. On your own home PC you get Windows XP Dumbed Down Version. (That is why this page is in my top ten every single day). You need to update your virus signatures daily. You run your own firewall. It takes you more than a day to move from one PC to the next, a feat that takes an hour on a Mac. Microsoft is the new IBM. Hated by many of their customers, there simply was is way around them. Or so it seems.

Google is now the next Microsoft. When was the last time you activated your latest Google product?


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