Interesting insight into Microsoft and it's fight back with Ray Ozzie

If anyone can help Microsoft turn the corner from "our life and revenue is on each and every PC" to "our lives are online and our revenue comes from ..." it's Ray Ozzie

The FORTUNE: Microsoft's new brain - May 1, 2006 article is very interesting and, as I said, if anyone can do it it's Ray Ozzie. I'm particularly impressed by how Bill Gates is aware of his limitations and effects he has on staff and therefore moved himself out of the way.

Some key quotes:
Wall Street simply no longer sees Microsoft as a growth business. The company is still stupendously - and increasingly - profitable: Earnings have grown an average of 33 percent annually the past three years, and in 2005 the company earned $12.3 billion, a net margin of 31 percent. But last year revenues increased just 8 percent, to $39.8 billion.

Then there are the really big strategic problems, such as figuring out how to fight back as free open-source software continues its relentless advance around the world. Or - and this was high on the agenda at Robinswood - coming up with ways to negate the advantage that Internet-based companies like Google and Yahoo! have in improving their products whenever they want.

"I would never underestimate that team," says Dick Lampman, who heads Hewlett-Packard's (Research) research labs and has worked with Microsoft for decades. "But right now the rate of change seems to be moving against them."
Gates and Ballmer hate hearing people say things like that. They want to put Microsoft back out in front of the industry, where it has been for most of its history. Gates says he is fed up with Google being seen as the "thought leader" of the Internet Age.

But finally, this might show the true arrogance and failing of Microsoft - can one man (Ray Ozzie) change a corporates culture?

Ballmer says, "We have the birthright to lead the pack. We've got more technology. We've got more experience."


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