Five years ago, Steve Ballmer said "we can make Windows devices once again the devices to own." Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows will no longer be a standalone unit at Microsoft, ending a division dedicated to personal OS that started in 1980. Via Ben Thompson at Stratechery:
The story of Windows' decline is relatively straightforward and a classic case of disruption:
• The Internet dramatically reduced application lock-in
• PCs became "good enough", elongating the upgrade cycle
• Smartphones first addressed needs the PC couldn't, then over time started taking over PC functionality directly
Thompson has written extensively about Microsoft culture and how it led to this point.
As with most such things, culture is one of a company's most powerful assets right until it isn't: the same underlying assumptions that permit an organization to scale massively constrain the ability of that same organization to change direction. More distressingly, culture prevents organizations from even knowing they need to do so.
It's an interesting read for anyone with a business.