10.24.2005

How did we get here 4 (cont.)

And thus the cast was set. Over the next 5-7 years, these replacement players focused on their own internal power struggle, which often manifested itself in getting more headcounts, of managing bigger teams and budgets. They strive to own as many product lines as possible. Once they owned a product, even a bad one, they feel they can take the time to make it successful. Software development in those days still have long multi-year schedule, and so the product's success or failure is a long time away. And so there was virtually no "garbage collection" of bad ideas or bad execution of products, since no one is willing to kill their own product and teams as that's just suicide. Instead, the focus was on presentation of dreams and phantom projections of success, and Powerpoints and Flash demos were the tools of choice, not working codes in users' hands.

And more of this new generation's energy is internally focused on their competition for promotion, rather than on their marketplace competitor. The energy and focus is no longer on the products, on innovation, on creativity of the product, on beating your product's competitors. Where once most people and teams in Microsoft believe in winning in the marketplace, and even in innovations and changing the world, the creativity is now on how to out maneuvering the internal competition, of padding your resume to get up on top and reap the big salary, bonuses, and stock options. Thus Microsoft became increasingly isolated from market forces, helped by the fact that money keep coming in from Windows and Office, and so there's no need to be lean. As long as your product's promise can't be validated, your power and position is mostly safe. And of course, everyone knows that in Microsoft we get three chances (or versions) to get things right anyway, right?

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