Vanity Fair: Poor Management is Behind Microsoft's "Lost Decade"
July 9, 2012 1:10 PM
comment(s) - last by
Stack ranking and the inability to move up to new technologies were Microsoft's largest problems
contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald analyzed what he calls Microsoft's "lost decade," where a few bad management decisions led to the company's fall starting in the year 2000. Eichenwald used internal corporate records, interviews and emails between Microsoft executives to dictate his analysis.
From the information Eichenwald reviewed, he found that Microsoft
made a couple of huge mistakes
that led to its fall in the tech rankings: stack ranking and the inability to move up to new technologies.
After dozens of interviews with employees, Eichenwald discovered that Microsoft had been using a stack ranking management technique that put a lot of pressure on employees. Stack ranking means that each unit has a certain percentage of employees that are identified as top workers, good workers, average workers and poor workers. In other words, if there is a unit of 10 employees, it's understood that two people would be designated the top workers while seven employees would receive good or average reviews and the last one would get a poor review.
Using this stack ranking technique not only put a lot of pressure on employees, but also made employees want to compete with one another instead of other companies.
"It was always much less about how I could become a better engineer and much more about my need to improve my visibility among other managers," said Ed McCahill, a former Microsoft marketing manager for 16 years.
Microsoft also failed to take on new technological opportunities, such as the e-reader it developed back in 1998. A Microsoft team created the portable e-reader and presented it to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, but Gates was not impressed. He said the user interface didn't look enough like Windows. The idea was scrapped, and the team was removed from the reporting line to Gates.
Amazon later introduced the Kindle e-reader in 2007, which turned out to be a hit. Amazon now has an entire line of Kindle e-readers as well as the Kindle Fire tablet, and other companies like Barnes & Noble have released their own tablets as well (NOOK). It wasn't until April of this year that Microsoft embraced e-readers by teaming up with Barnes & Noble to create an
e-book subsidiary called Newco
While Microsoft has seen tremendous success with other releases during the supposed "lost decade" -- such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Xbox 360 and Kinect -- it doesn't seem to be enough to pass competitors like Apple. In fact,
alone brings in more revenue than all of Microsoft's products combined.
But Microsoft is looking ahead to its upcoming Windows 8 operating system and Windows Phone 8 for a boost. The new Metro user interface is unlike any Microsoft Windows release to date, and has been a topic of debate. Some feel it strays too far from the original Windows theme while others praise the change. The
10.6-inch Surface tablet
, which Microsoft announced last month, is also an anticipated addition to the company's family of gadgets.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: They expect it to change now?
7/9/2012 10:35:38 PM
You can customize the ribbon to put your frequently used commands where you want. The ribbon switches tabs automatically based on context. There are pop-up menus that show when you highlight text with commands that are frequently used for that type of content. On top of that you can automatically preview changes just by mousing over some items on the ribbon. (no click at all)
What is it that you do that is so much harder to get to now that half the functionality isn't buried in menus?
As soon as I saw it I thought that the ribbon was one of the best UI advances in a piece of productivity software since ditching the keyboard overlay.
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
Microsoft Claims it Killed the Start Button Because You Didn't Want it
June 28, 2012, 9:28 AM
Microsoft Announces 10.6-inch "Surface" Windows 8 Tablet
June 18, 2012, 7:21 PM
Next Gen iPhone Screen Specs Leak, Apple to Reportedly Deliver Mini Tablet
May 22, 2012, 6:33 PM
Microsoft, Barnes & Noble Team Up for "Newco" E-Book Subsidiary
April 30, 2012, 3:42 PM
Numerous Leaks Detail 4.7" iPhone 6 Processor, RAM, Cellular and NFC Capabilities
August 29, 2014, 10:37 PM
Buzz Grows Over Upcoming Lenovo Vibe X2's "Layered" Rim, Intel Chip
August 29, 2014, 4:59 PM
Sprint Intros Free Wi-Fi Calling for Overseas Travelers
August 29, 2014, 11:30 AM
Nokia HERE Maps to Arrive on Samsung Galaxy Smartphones This October
August 29, 2014, 9:14 AM
Microsoft's Standalone Kinect 2 Goes On Sale Oct. 7 for $150
August 28, 2014, 4:33 PM
Apple Builds Not-So-Secret Secret 3-Story Tower for iPhone 6/iWatch Unveil
August 28, 2014, 3:41 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft's Surface 2 Tablet Family Gets a $100 Price Cut
August 25, 2014, 1:16 AM
Owner of "Decepticon" Maserati Ordered to Appear in Court This Thursday
August 25, 2014, 7:55 AM
LG Posts Teaser Video of Its “Round Face” G Watch R Smartwatch, Set for IFA Lauch
August 24, 2014, 2:49 PM
Windows 9: "Upgrade Now" Button Coming for Enterprise Updates, ARM Preview in H1 2015
August 26, 2014, 8:00 PM
Second ZMapp-Treated Patient Dies of Ebola, Supplies Run Out
August 25, 2014, 7:03 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information