New: Book Report: Microsoft Rebooted

This book is about changing a company's culture. It's about Microsoft. It's about Gates and Ballmer shifting the company's culture as they had to comply with the various legal judgments against the company.

According to this book, the original Microsoft culture was based on winning by any means necessary. I don't think that's true. I think that Microsofties with that attitude made many important industry-changing decisions. I think that Microsofties with that attitude made illegal deals with OEMs that abused monopoly power and sank a company I worked for. I'm not denying that such an attitude existed within parts of Microsoft. But I don't think that attitude permeated the company as this book would have me think. I've met too many Microsofties and ex-Microsofties who were happy to win by, you know, creating products that customers wanted.

Anyhow, this book is about how Gates and Ballmer decided to mature Microsoft out of this win-by-any-means-necessary attitude towards another model, a model that would be more stable, more appropriate for a large company. Listening to customers instead of cramming new versions down their throats. To make this attitude shift, Gates had to retire from the CEO position, no-one was going to believe him as the bearer of "nice-guy" guidance. So Ballmer had to step in, because it required a new face to deliver such a new message. And...

Wow, did it really require a massive shift in the company to get people to stop making illegal deals?

This book is based on interviews with high-level executives at Microsoft. I wonder if the "Let's abuse our monopoly powers" attitude was prevalent at the executive level. Maybe the executives thus assumed that this attitude was company-wide? And so they thought they had to totally shake up the company?

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Posted 2009-05-11