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Microsoft: Is the Creative Spark Burning Out?

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Since the recent couple years, Microsoft has usually been criticized lacking of creativity though financially it is still showing a climbing trend. However, Microsoft is far away from the customer's expectation of it that it could surprise the market with some new technology like Apple's I-series product line in many areas, Google and Yahoo's powerful search engine and Sony and Nintendo's videogame devices and so on.

Many reasons cause this scenario; I will list four major ones that I see behind the story.

1. Inertia from the successful traditional product. Have to admit that, despite of all the criticism, MS was really truly doing well in its Windows system and Office suite globally. It is the successful tradition allows MS to sit in the chair comfortably without any anxiety or impulse to pursue its next flagship product.

2. Lack of the customer-driving thinking. MS's success was based on the launch of its early product, Windows and Office suite and the improved versions after. The product and thus, the market were created by some geeks with their brilliant thoughts instead of a deep study of the market. On the contrary, Steve Jobs, the most often compared rival with Gates from MS, was actually fell down in the competition and become a deep customer-driving thinker once he took over Apple again.

3. From the case, and some more beyond-case research show that MS is becoming a more and more bureaucratic organization which restricts the creativity from within. Some information even indicates that some innovation could not reach to discussion due to some selfish supervision.

4. Too big to be efficiently creative. Unlike the bureaucratic organization, this feature lays in the nature of big company like MS. This reminds me a word from Jobs that: Stay foolish, stay hungry. Also from the Teva case that, it is easy to run a poor company but hard to run a rich company to act poor. Here poor I believe is not financially but a desire to be creative. As said in the case that MS willing to invest those more guaranteed projects rather than some innovation and this trend becoming more and more obvious with the company scale growing up.

One word to summarize the underlying problems that MS has both inside and outside, that it is an honorable giant with its big body trying to move fast in the current super fast paced internet business world. But the MS speed can barely catch up with the time.

Some potential changes or recommendations could be like as following which each could be applied to certain existing problem.

1. MS currently, one of its major criticism goes to its "copying others' idea with MS' power", since MS cannot in advance find the next hot selling point, this makes MS spreads



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