Business Gurus Opine: How I'd Fix Microsoft

From building a better tablet to creating more chaos

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 28, 2013 11:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Microsoft revenue tripled under soon-to-be-ex CEO Steve Ballmer, but the one thing that $78 billion in sales can't buy is street cred. The Wall Street Journal asks an assortment of business leaders how they'd help the company get its groove back. A few highlights:

  • Alex Rampell, co-founder and CEO of TrialPay: "In the words of Marc Benioff, software is dead. Microsoft needs to eliminate a mentality of version numbers and 'years' (e.g., Office 2003, Office 2007, Office 2011). For one, it's embarrassing to only ship software every four years. Facebook patches their site every day!"
  • Jean-Louis Gassee, venture capitalist: "Microsoft should make an honest tablet—not a hybrid product—but a tablet-only tablet. They should get into the smartphone business themselves, because Nokia is not going to do it for them."

  • Bret Taylor, former CTO of Facebook: "Microsoft's recent strategy shift was to focus on 'services and devices'—essentially to become a hybrid of Microsoft's biggest competitors, Google and Apple. I am skeptical such a strategy will succeed because the services model and device model are so different. ... I would advise Microsoft's incoming CEO to take a critical look at this new strategy and pick a single path with a single, simple business model."
  • Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger (yes, that lolcat site): "Microsoft needs more room for chaos. ... Microsoft's best assets are its employees, and it's time that they let the reins loose and create a less strict environment. ... Wall Street won't like that, but the focus on short-term profits are stomping down future innovations."
Click through to read all 11 ideas at the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, at Slate, Farhad Manjoo thinks what Microsoft needs is the return of Bill Gates. But he knows that won't happen. The next best candidate for CEO? The man who holds that title at LinkedIn: Jeff Weiner. "Weiner has skillfully navigated LinkedIn around several obvious strategic hurdles—why use it when we have Facebook and Twitter? He's done so by focusing on the long term ... That's exactly the kind of vision Microsoft needs." Click for Manjoo's full piece.

The Microsoft logo is seen on the new French branch office of Microsoft, in Issy-Les-Moulineaux, next to Paris.
The Microsoft logo is seen on the new French branch office of Microsoft, in Issy-Les-Moulineaux, next to Paris.   (AP Photo/ Thibault Camus, File)
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