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The fall for $MSFT

Microsoft just couldn't compete with the strong stuff: iPhones, iPads, Google, Facebook. With Windows 8 they mixed two weak strains together: the Windows desktop and Metro's touchscreen UI. They put a touchscreen interface on machines without touchscreens. It was the opposite of synergy--it was a speedball.

Consider Windows Vista, the much-maligned follow-up to the genuinely decent Windows XP. It took five years to produce something that was far worse than its predecessor. Three years into it, in mid-2004, they threw out all the code and started over. There was a big reorg then, too, just like now. Reorgs are the product of endless turf wars between executives and keep managers occupied with PowerPoint charts. Reorgs keep peons nervous about where the axe will fall, as does the brutal zero-sum stack rank review system that dictates that every good performance review in a group must be balanced by a bad one--and thus that you can only excel if your peers fall behind.


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