5 Reasons Why Microsoft Is Stagnating
Even though their stock is moving for reasons that befuddle most people, including their own employees, it feels like Microsoft is going nowhere fast. So here are 5 reasons that make me consider the possibility that they have jumped the shark.
They’re having trouble giving Windows 10 away
Windows is the lifeblood of Microsoft and virtually everything else that they do is virtually dependent on their operating system having a predominant market share. However, Windows 7 is almost 8 years old, and Microsoft is having trouble getting consumers and businesses alike to embrace Windows 10, even though it was free. In fact, the Windows 7 market share is almost two times that of Windows 10 and is still more popular than all of their other OS’s combined. This is nothing new though, even though Windows XP was released in 2001, it still more popular than Windows 8.1 which was released 12 years later. Windows 10 is so bad that they had to resort to converting it to an ad platform in order to monetize it and were forced to distribute it like malware through their Windows Update service; but hey, this helped Bing’s revenue problems.
When they acquired Nokia for $7 billion and LinkedIn for $26 billion and change, even their low level employees seemed to be the only people capable of seeing these as a huge mistakes. As of right now, Skype and LinkedIn both seem to have consumers running in the other direction like refugees from the caliphate. According to my sources and even though LinkedIn has a decent amount of total users, their Monthly Active Users (MAU) has supposedly PLUMMETED from the 106 million it had since it being acquired by Microsoft and I hear that Skype isn’t fairing so well either.
Innovation Is Broken
Microsoft was once a company that could at least take a Steve Jobs idea and run with it. However, they seem to have devolved into a company that can’t even trace an Apple idea without incurring significant losses. While working at Microsoft, its easy to get the feeling that status quo is immutable, damage control is the standard, and that trying to make any of this better is anywhere from pointless to career suicide. As a former employee, I can’t stress enough that you will not make any friends there by trying innovative and new approaches to try to address this present state, which tends to hinder efforts made towards innovation. Treating the status quo as if it is immutable is an affront to technology, science and innovation alike.
Broken Feedback Loops
If you want to see why Microsoft is having trouble reaching consumers, all you need to do is look at how they minimize the feedback of their own employees. They had a lot of trouble giving their Windows Phones away to their employees for free as an incentive to switch out their iPhone and Androids, but this did not seem to strike them as a bad omen and they decided to go to market anyways. Even their Surface products have poor adoption internally and seem to be resented for their poor reliability while being viewed as a bane to productivity due to all of their idiosyncrasies. Further and within their own company, they had to implement a group policy object that forced adoption of Windows 10 over Windows 7 instead of seeing why people wanted to keep Windows 7; sound familiar? But if your employees hate your products, how can you expect any better from consumers and businesses? Even further, if you minimize the opinions and feedback from the people that work directly with your customers, how can you expect to make this better? After all, what would their employees know?
Whenever Microsoft has to pay the price for their mistakes, it’s their employees that seem to feel the brunt of the pain, even though they’re just doing the best job that they’re allowed to do. Yet, the people ultimately responsible for these mistakes seem to be immune from their own problems and get to keep on truckin’ as if they aren’t at fault for any of this. The people that have the most accountability and responsibility for this present state seem to be held the least accountable. You can’t blame Sales and Marketing for everything and their shortcomings are a symptom of bad leadership, their bad decisions, and the hollow products that follow suit.