Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley delivered one of the keynotes at the JBoye Philadelphia 2010 conference. Foley has been following the Redmond giant since the early days of her journalistic career and brought a wealth of information to the table -- including the things you always wanted to know about Microsoft, but were afraid to ask.
The session entitled “10 Products and Strategies Likely to Make (or Break) Microsoft” started off with -- what some in the audience referred to as “Microsoft bashing,” others called it "an insider perspective" -- her 10 truths and myths about MSFT.
1. What drives Microsoft the most is being the underdog.
They want and need to be the underdog. When they’re not, they get very complacent – Internet Explorer is a great example of that.
2. Microsoft wants to be loved unconditionally like Apple and Google.
Microsoft doesn’t get the feeling they get the love they deserve, said Foley, also mentioning the existing East Coast vs. West Coast bias in the media.
3. Microsoft wants to be cool, but they don't know how to do that.
As a reminder, have a look at this oldie-but-goodie video, in which Gates tried to be cool in a #FAIL “I am a PC – Shoe Circus” ad campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld.
4. Microsoft decided to put all marketing eggs in the consumer basket.
This which creates a certain level of animosity inside the company, as this positioning seems to convey that MSFT doesn’t care about enterprise products, which are their “bread and butter.”
5. The openness era at Microsoft is over.
The company decided to be completely closed, and claim they give information to people when people need to know that, and not when people are asking about when the next service pack release will be coming out.
6. ...Except when it comes to Microsoft trying to cash in on the open source love
7. Microsoft has a lot of lawyers and is not afraid to use them.
According to Foley, MSFT has about 3,000 legal professionals on its payroll.
Why so many? To cover the multitude of lawsuits that are, mainly, spanning around Intellectual Property (IP) and patent issues, as Microsoft very often goes after people and companies who they think violate their patents (think Amazon’s Kindle and Linux, HTC and Droid).
8. Microsoft is not one big, happy family. It’s a shark tank.
The winners are those who have more people reporting to them.
Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live division, is what Foley calls the golden boy; he gets what he wants.
While B. Kevin Turner, the COO, is not the most popular guy with MSFT employers, as he wants to run things the Wal-Mart way (where he worked for nearly 20 years before joining MSFT).
9. Microsoft is not as cohesive or Machiavellian as people think.
Most of the time, one division has no clue what others are doing.
10. Despite some media headlines, Microsoft is not getting its mojo back.
Microsoft is too wrapped up in the Bills guys vs. Steves guys game, with Bill Gates focusing on technology (tablets, touch, voice, robotics) and Steve Ballmer being all about money and in constant search of the next billion-dollar business.