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Comment on "Follow-Up to "Secret Ingredient""
by MJ — Sep 06
The "Apple is small, Microsoft is large" argument is kinda bogus. smaller companies are more agile but they're talking about SMALL companies and not the behemoth that is Apple which is still a substantial number of people.

The biggest difference between Apple and Microsoft is VISION.

Apple have a core team of people who know where they are taking the product. It isn't a singular Jobsian vision - but they are well versed in communication and responsible for their own areas.

In comparison, Microsoft is run by the engineering committee. Product groups are proud of their itty-bitty features and a considerable amount of effort goes into the INTERNAL marketing of an idea to get it accepted by the management and also the other product groups who need to support it. (spend time on Scoble's blog before he left Microsoft and you see this)

If a product group doesn't like the idea or, egad, has an idea of their own that conflicts then there is an internal war waged. Then you see features being cut or dongraded, departments refusing to build in support for certain features and the "product" becomes a "compromise". To get unbridled support you need to have a charismatic leader....

Nortel had difficulty in the late 90s transitioning from a "telephony" company to a "network" company. It culminated in the very expensive purchase of Bay Networks which was described by the CEO at the time as a "right angle turn". He had spent years trying to get his managers to accept the idea that "IP" was going to be important and there was considerable political resistance from entrenched management. So....they went out and bought expertise.

Microsoft is betting the farm on Ray Ozzie having seen how such a disjointed approach to building a "product" has left them in disarray. But at this stage it's too little, too late. They should have done this in 2003, not mid 2006 and mere months before release.

Apple and Google have vision.
Microsoft, Yahoo, not.
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