I'd encourage all
of you to read Lou Gertsner's "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?"
Lou Gertsner was the CEO of IBM Corporation at a time when pretty much everyone
had written-off "the first and the largest computer corporation in the world" as something that was (believe it or not ...)
"sure" to very-soon be bought up at fire-sale prices by ... Microsoft. The company was by that time anything but
"a single company." Truth was, IBM really didn't know "what it wanted to be when it grew up." And, today, Microsoft is in precisely the same situation.
Like IBM at that time, Microsoft "merely assumed" that "of course" it had the entire computing world by the short-hairs. Instead of looking to see what customers actually wanted,
they merely assumed that customers could be made to "want" whatever it was that IBM deigned to provide ... and to pay for it, "of course," By The Month (IBM == Income By The Month ...)
at whatever ever-changing prices a particular Division might decide at any time to "announce." Individual divisions of the company operated as fiefdoms, even to the point that an AS/400 sales-team might be competing with a Mainframe sales-team for the same contract with apparently no awareness of what the other team was doing.
How "the Nabisco man" turned the company around is quite
the story ... and it's one that Ballmer apparently never bothered to read.
I am personally not
willing to throw Steve Ballmer under the proverbial bus for this. He has been very good for Microsoft, and he's been there almost from the beginning of the company. Furthermore, he can hardly be held accountable for the myriad decisions that were, in fact, made by hundreds if not thousands of people over many years . . .
. . . except
. . . (oh, it positively sux
to be "CEO") . . .
. . . "as (tah-dahhh) CEO
," it is quite-unfortunately part of your job
to do exactly that. You
have to take the bullet. You
have to be the one who goes down with the ship. When the sea changes, as it always does in business, you
have to be the one to accept responsibility
, no matter what it was.
"It's why they pay you the big bucks."