Microsoft’s Creative Destruction

Former Microsoft vice president Dick Brass, writes an damning op-ed for the New York Times, that anyone paying attention sort of already figured was the case.  He lambastes the Redmond, Wash. company for no longer being innovative, but rather a monopoly resting on their laurels. Here he is on Microsoft’s paranoid and competitive corporate culture:

For example, early in my tenure, our group of very clever graphics experts invented a way to display text on screen called ClearType. It worked by using the color dots of liquid crystal displays to make type much more readable on the screen. Although we built it to help sell e-books, it gave Microsoft a huge potential advantage for every device with a screen. But it also annoyed other Microsoft groups that felt threatened by our success.

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. As a result, even though it received much public praise, internal promotion and patents, a decade passed before a fully operational version of ClearType finally made it into Windows.

Can you imagine this ever happening at Google or Apple?

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