What makes Microsoft so successful? This is the question I thought again and again for a long time. My personal answers are pulled together and posted here while BillG just left MICROSOFT days ago.
1. Right timing & place. MICROSOFT is growing up along with the booming trend that computers help people in every way. Under the background of times, there will be another Microsoft even without this one, but all of them will be likely to appear in US only.
n People here are expensive – It will cost you at least $150 to call a repairman to check your air conditioner; you should be pretty rich to have a in-house maid;
n People tend to use machines instead of human to complete jobs – people like to weed by themselves, even if it is general manager in cooperation;
n Embedded immigrant cultures empower people with the belief of being risk-taking entrepreneur. In a general MS engineering team, you can easily find people with various faces, speaking various English dialects.
n Personal contribution is respected and protected seriously. The right way of buying DVD is logging on amazon.com, instead of turning to the street peddlers.
2. Have passions for what you are doing. The leader, especially founder, should possess religious worship to what he is doing and make every effort to realize it. Leaders focus on vision and strategy, while managers focus on execution and plan. That is the main reason why industry is pretty concern about Microsoft’s future in post-Gates. The targeting market must be big enough, better potentially. Over three decades, Microsoft had a clear cut vision: put a desktop computer on every desk. MICROSOFT has a strong belief that he is doing the right thing and be ready to make every effort to realize it. Now MICROSOFT has a new one with much bigger scope.
3. Hire smart people & help them enjoy their job. Top3 hiring rule for engineering guys is smart, hard working and passion for technology. They also need appreciate MICROSOFT culture, of course. Take education background as example, you can easily find folks graduated from Ivy League. Microsoft, especially in Redmond, is just like a university. You can always easily find various online/in-person trainings, talks and courses. “Knowledge sharing” & “Help others success” are highly encouraged and awarded. You know what will happen if a group of well organized smart people happily work for a single goal.
4. Understand your customers. From latest annual report, 3 of 5 operating segments( which targets enterprise customers) are earning money, but the other 2(targeting consumer market) are losing money. MICROSOFT is claiming that GOOG does not understand businesses today. At least, I can prove MICROSOFT does understand in his own field. If you visit Sharepoint team, you can see that every user scenarios are discussed seriously in board. I ran into a 10-year researcher for a security product, whose job is monitoring hacker’s blog and propose features in upcoming releases. TAP(Technical Access Program) is a program which allows development team to receive representative customers feedbacks prior to product RTM.
5. Build up your core competence firstly, and then fully leverage your dominant position. Obviously Windows is the most successful OS in the world, especially when you look at its dominant popularity. Can you image a world without Windows? MICROSOFT builds lots of software around Windows – Office, DB, Dev tools, virtualization, security, search, you name it. But be careful all the time. J
6. Be aggressive. Getting an aggressive& passionate leader is the first step. Want every dollar in the market like a shark. Not to advance is to go back. Anybody remembers Borland Delphi, Netscape? What is MICROSOFT’s response seeing IPod’s success?
7. Think of an open platform. Big enough but simple. Serve as many customers as possible. If you look at Mac OS and Windows especially in initial age, you will find that they are taking quite different ways. MICROSOFT builds an open platform upon which everybody is encouraged to build software; while Apple has the belief that only Apple can provide best end to end personal computing experience to customers. While customers enjoy Windows software from third party, they are also paying dollars to MICROSOFT unconsciously. Also, remember why Facebook gets its heyday while Myspace dominates SNS market?
8. Play with big dogs and share your success. Business is like battle to certain extent. MICROSOFT needs friends to fight together. One or two loyal friend is essential. Wintel alliance is much better. But remember that “no permanent friends, only permanent interests.” Sometimes, enemy can be also friend in some angel. J Share your success by allocating some dollars to your friends/partners.
9. Keep learning. The world is ever changing. Keep sensitive to opportunities and threats all the time. Sometimes, one trivial careless omission might result in big troubles. For example, IE for Internet browser and Google for online AD. Especially be alert to industry evolution trend.
10. Who knows. Why it must have reasons? Actually I would like to keep it open. J
Looking at above, I believe that Microsoft has intense confidence to compete with any software makers in the planet. However the biggest challenge ahead is game rule changing. That often means rebulding the whole business model, which is extremely painful and expensive for a mature company. Unfortunately, we have to sometimes. Microsoft makes money by selling bits to customers, someone is expecting a transformation:
Looking at above, I believe that Microsoft has intense confidence to compete with any software makers in the planet.
However the biggest challenge ahead is game rule changing. That often means rebulding the whole business model, which is extremely painful and expensive for a mature company. Unfortunately, we have to sometimes. Microsoft makes money by selling bits to customers, someone is expecting a transformation:
· Redhat. Open source. You can use my software for free and only need pay a little dollars for upgrade and service. · Salesforce. SaaS model. You pay for what you need. No software. No installation. · Facebook. Internet app for Social graph. People build trust better there. More targeted AD. · … They are actually the real fatal killer from Microsoft's perspective.
· Redhat. Open source. You can use my software for free and only need pay a little dollars for upgrade and service.
· Salesforce. SaaS model. You pay for what you need. No software. No installation.
· Facebook. Internet app for Social graph. People build trust better there. More targeted AD.
They are actually the real fatal killer from Microsoft's perspective.