Microsoft is often unfairly criticized, says former vice president Dick Brass, but has a real problem creating new things that people care about. Despite having one of the best corporate labs in the world, internal factions thwart one anothers' attempts to develop new technologies, wrecking the company's ability to turn innovations into products.
This is what happened when ClearType font anti-aliasing was developed:
Engineers in the Windows group falsely claimed it made the display go haywire when certain colors were used. The head of Office products said it was fuzzy and gave him headaches. The vice president for pocket devices was blunter: he'd support ClearType and use it, but only if I transferred the program and the programmers to his control.
I wonder who at Microsoft made sure Surface never got out the gates? Brass writes that the vice president in charge of Microsoft Office sabotaged the company's attempts to develop decent Tablet PCs, by refusing to develop versions of Office that could work properly on them: "To this day, you can't use Office directly on a Tablet PC."
Imagine what would happen at Apple if whoever was in charge of iWork set out to suppress development of an iPad version because he didn't believe it was real computer.
Microsoft's Creative Destruction
Way back in 2011, major American automakers were slow to realize that “companies in Silicon Valley have for some time been looking at cars just like another mobile device or app.” When the disruption, hit, it hit hard, writes Nick Bilton:
This is NASA’s new “space fabric” in development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Founded in 1970 as Xerox’s R&D division, PARC was a dream factory that brought the world laser printing, Ethernet, the graphical user interface that led to Windows and the Macintosh, ubiquitous computing, and many other technologies that we now take for granted. Why made the place so damn special? Alan Kay, who pioneered networked computing […]
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]
They probably just sleep a lot. But still, you can remotely keep an eye on them when you’re at work and missing them deeply with this HD monitor from Kodak.If you have a new puppy that destroys everything in sight, or you just want to be a little more security-conscious, this WiFi camera is a […]
Thinking of a business idea is the easy part. Doesn’t even have to be a “good” idea, you can still get people to throw money at a non-existent venture, but to do that you need to at least have something even resembling a viable business plan. Why doesn’t anyone do it then? Because building that semi-viable […]