Another well written article today in Vanity Faire, How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America’s Most Spectacular Decline, which visits Microsoft’s lost decade and current structural problems. Well worth Instapering (Is that a word?).
Ballmer’s key business philosophy for Microsoft was so antiquated as to be irrelevant. The Microsoft C.E.O. used to proclaim that it would not be first to be cool, but would be first to profit—in other words, it would be the first to make money by selling its own version of new technologies. But that depended on one fact: Microsoft could buy its way into the lead, because it always had so much more cash on hand than any of its competitors.
No more. The advantage that Ballmer relied on for so long is now nonexistent. Google has almost the same amount of cash on its books as Microsoft—$50 billion to Microsoft’s $58 billion. Apple, on the other hand, started the year with about $100 billion. Using superior financial muscle to take over a market won’t work for Microsoft or Ballmer anymore.
My only issue with the article is that Microsoft was never “cool”.