Is Microsoft nearing the Flats?
It's always risky to challenge a company as large and successful as Microsoft - but read these quotes from the recent BusinessWeek article:
"Employees... feeling trapped in an organization whose past successes seem to stifle current creativity."
"Microsoft faces serious long-term challenges: the rising popularity of the Linux open-source operating system, a plague of viruses attacking its software, and potent rivals such as Google in the consumer realm and IBM (IBM ) in corporate computing. It's the company's ability to respond to these challenges that current and former employees fear is being compromised by Microsoft's internal troubles."
"When Ballmer took over, he was determined to overcome the looming challenge of corporate middle age. He pored over how-to management books such as Jim Collins' Good to Great. But since Ballmer took the helm, Microsoft has slipped the other way. The stock price has dropped over 40% during his tenure, and the company, whose revenue grew at an average annual clip of 36% through the 1990s, rose just 8% in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. That's good for a company of Microsoft's size, but it is the first time the software giant has had single-digit growth."
"..monopolies are at the root of the company's malaise. As Microsoft fought the federal government and litigious rivals, it developed an almost reflexive instinct to protect Windows and Office, sometimes at the expense of looking for groundbreaking innovations." "Every time Bill and Steve made a change to be more like other big companies, we lost a little bit of what made Microsoft special" "So much of what Microsoft is doing right now is maintenance" "Instead of coming up with the next great technology, Microsoft programmers have to cater to itsmonopolies"
"With revenue growth slowing, Ballmer has tried to squeeze more down to the bottom line to make the company more appealing to investors. In the past fiscal year he slashed $2.6 billion out of operating expenses."