Case Study, Microsoft's Downfall

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Microsoft’s Lost Decade

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Microsoft’s Lost Decade

Final Case
Final Case

Table of Contents

Introduction2

Part 1: Critique
Unity of Purpose3
Invest in Human Resources5
Focus6
Visibility Management8
Fix Causes9
Know Your Customers10
Know Your Competition12
Total Quality Management13

Part 2: Recommendations14

References/Links19

Appendix20

Introduction
Microsoft’s story serves as a prime example of the pitfalls of success. In this case we can analyze, critique, and make recommendations to avoid a similar disaster in the future. While they were really the sole company to open the window into computer technology for the everyday user, but over the last decade appears to have been a victim of its own success. Once so dominant in the industry which is basically created on its own, today cannot be described as “cutting edge”. The name no longer resonates with younger generations. Evidence of this struggling success can be seen in its stock prices which have completely plateaued and even began to drop recently. What happened? Why are they no longer creating wonderful technological advances for its consumers? In order to compete in the technology industry, a company needs to continuously be innovation for its customers; Microsoft was not doing that. Despite facing a challenge in IBM in the beginning when Microsoft first entered the industry, who was also getting overly confident and comfortable with its position in the industry. It actually appears as though Microsoft has reenacted the problems of their former nemesis. Clearly not focused on development or bringing out a new product, and their new philosophy as expressed by the most recent CEO Steve Balmer about a decade ago was we won’t be first to cool but we will be first to profit. In other words, they don’t care about coming out with some cool new technology, they will wait for somebody else to do that, and then buy their way into that market. Obviously the major problem with that is if somebody else is coming into that product first, that company will most likely lock up the market. It is possible that Microsoft has its hands in too many things. There is no focus. Microsoft doesn’t know what kind of company it wants to be. This is evident by the competition microsft is facing. One division is competing with SONY, while another group is battling apple, while even other teams are competing with Google for example. It’s possible that what the company really needs is a fresh start; New atmosphere, new leadership, new goals. Microsoft has great products in Xbox and connect, but inside the massive” machine” that it has become they are just small underdeveloped projects. So again, it is obvious that there are issues to be looked at here, but somebody in charge missed the signals and let this happen. The most telling story from the case is that Microsoft in fact had ideas about the first e-reader, the very technology that is today very popular in the Kindle and iPad, as early as the late 1990s. Unfortunately for the company, the story tells of a meeting in which Bill Gates gave this new technology the “thumbs down” because the screen didn’t look like windows. Do the customers care about that? No. So that was a huge missed opportunity. The leadership was blind to that element, which dictates that for the customers’ needs to be addressed first and foremost. As a technology company the goal should be to “create” what is needed. Microsoft started doing things the other way around. Windows started getting so complicated because they overloaded the engineering aspect to create things that will look good, not perform well. What it has come to at this point it seem is there is no way for Microsoft to compete at this stage. Everything within the company, including the employees...
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