Thursday, June 18, 2015

Satya Nadella Shuffles Executives: Microsoft Still Too Ponderous

One of our best read and most forwarded posts was about the accession of Satya Nadella to the Microsoft CEO chair, which really excited us, in the midst of all kinds of Wall Street consternation.
Perceptions about Microsoft among its customers, developers and Wall Street really picked up quickly, and the contrast with the imperial Ballmer Reign was also a refreshing change.

Microsoft continues to be a cash flow behemoth, with untold flexibility to speed up product development and to rebound from its historical behavior of misreading consumer trends and being a clumsy, heavy handed late follower.

But really, the latest executive shuffling is just the traditional reversal, which puts more and more onto the plates of two existing executives.  Here is the relevant quote from the CEO,
"To better align our capabilities and, ultimately, deliver better products and services our customers love at a more rapid pace, I have decided to organize our engineering effort into three groups that work together to deliver on our strategy and ambitions."
Delivering better products and services faster, which work together the way customers want, is something that needs to be achieved now, not ultimately. Making this change doesn't really seem to be demonstrably positive for the important goal.

Microsoft still seems like a big, ponderous organization that is hanging the hat on making the "Windows experience" available across all platforms.  That may be a noble goal, and Windows 10 seems to be generating a lot of excitement among Microsoft store employees, but so many of its features and capabilities, though a move up for Microsoft, will probably be leapfrogged by the far more consumer-aware and organizationally agile Apple.

If the culture of Microsoft is ever going to change it has to be at the layers below the EVPs and deep into the structure of the organization.  I still wonder how this can be done, and how long it will take.


arun raj said...

hey see what satya nadella spoke about the digital India at san jose dinner event

Eapen Chacko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eapen Chacko said...

Arun, thanks for the link. It sounds like a noble initiative. My recent test of Windows 10 on my older, relatively under powered desktop (which qualified for W10) made me roll back to Windows 7. Except now, some of my programs don't work as they did before. There is no way I could find to talk to live people about my experience. Yet, I get constant computer survey requests. This is just a tone deaf organization for consumers. I go back to MS-DOS with them, and I can navigate my way through blue screens of death with the best. However, when I take into account all the hours I spend digging my way out of crashes and problems, including virus and malwaare infections, I think the total cost of ownership, including opportunity cost of time wasted, makes Apple iOS look better, despite higher hardware prices.