Evolving culture

By Rob Enderle  |  Posted 2004-03-23 Print this article Print

Microsofts culture is changing. As you would expect, all of this is the result of a cultural change inside Microsoft. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, "That which does not kill you can only make you stronger," and these attacks on Microsoft have certainly had a dramatic change on how the company is run. From an increased reliance on outside, mature sources for employees, as opposed to the more traditional "get them young and grow them into the business" approach that resulted in a lot of very smart, relatively clueless (with regard to customer needs) employees, to an organizational structure that is now more closely aligned with customers than with internal empires, Microsoft already looks vastly different inside than it did a year ago. From my own perspective, it seems that Microsoft is listening more and telling less. Executives seem to be out visiting more often as opposed to being in back-to-back meetings on campus, and there is clearly a deep understanding that if something isnt done, their own futures are at risk. Sometimes, whether it is a large or small firm, it takes a solid hit with a 2-by-4 to make the executive staff wake up to a problem. While Im quite sure Microsofts staff would have just as soon missed the 2-by-4 step, the end, in this case, may actually justify the means. In effect, Microsoft is being forced to evolve very quickly. Since change is always incredibly painful and expensive, having Microsoft change so that we may not have to is most likely a good thing. I do wish Microsoft would at least try the IBM approach as well, because Im getting tired of having to hide under my desk for a week after saying something positive about the company. Then again, "Whatever doesnt kill me …"
Disclaimer: Microsoft is a current client of Enderles.
Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology. Editors Note: This story was updated to include the above disclaimer. Check out eWEEKs Desktop & Notebook Center at http://desktop.eweek.com for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

Rob Enderle Rob Enderle Enderle Group 389 Photinia Lane San Jose, CA 95127

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