This is the second time I have picked up strong signals that Management at Microsoft is showing the stress of 7 years and counting of very mixed innovation. The results are very low at times -IE delayed almost beyond rescue as Firefox 3 just trumps even the upcoming IE8, Vista Death Watch, Zuneys, Silverlight-is -not-open-enough, versus some hits like SharePoint, HPs fuly touchscreen PC machine, and interest in Oslo modeling(delivery still awaited). And of course this has been reflected in Microsoft stock which has has been treading water in the $30/share or thereabouts for 7 years as well.
Microsoft clearly missed the Internet. Then the search bounty. Then the power of Open Source. Now the move to the Cloud – still trying the old proprietary monopoly formula. Well, read this e-piphany from eWeek , the pleadings from a supposed Microsoft blogger, and a interesting analysis from the NYTimes, for insights into the nature of the Microsoft malaise. Clearly employees, who depend on a rising value of stock for a sizable chunk of their compensation for Herculean work schedules – they must not be happy campers. Shareholders must be a bit restive with very substantial dividends coming at random times. Bondholders are non-existent – and that is a good thing because BCE decision just confirmed that Boards of Directors dont have to consider bondholders when making decisions other than wha is written in each bond issues covenants( that was a Yahoo you heard from Private Equity investors).
So maybe Economist Joseph Schumpeter is right on Denmark – monopoly profits drives out innovation because what can beat the ROI and low risk of existing monopoly markets versus the risky returns of new and completely different ways of doing things in emerging markets. You have to set the bar so high to match those monopoly returns, an organization ends up spinning its wheel.