Bill Gates' 4 golden rules at Microsoft - Jun. 20, 2008
Gates' 4 golden rules
Fortune Magazine reports on Bill Gate's supposed four core beliefs that Microsoft lives by, you can read them at the above link. However, as an outsider, I think there may be a little self delusion going on.
  1. "Think of software as a utopian tool" -- unfortunately it's very hard to understand what this rule means in terms of the companies behaviour and sounds a lot like hand waving. Are MS telling themselves they need to keep looking for new markets? How does an employee use this rule to guide what they do?
  2. "Let the engineers rule" -- given some of the  buggy software has been shipped all too frequently by the Redmond giant  it often feels to me that it's the accountants and product managers who actually make the decisions with little regard to the reality the engineers are facing. If that is not the case then the suggestion would be that the engineers more  focused on the value of their share options they should be, hence software going out the door before it's ready.
  3. "Institutionalize paranoia" -- Given the pressure that MS has faced over the last few years from legislators, the Internet, Apple and Open Source software then this has to be a clarion call for survival, as it should be in any commercial organisation. File this under "Motherhood and Apple Pie"
  4. "Invest for the long term" -- makes good sense for any organsation that can afford it, but Sharepoint is still a piece of crap even after all that long term investment. Being cash rich helps of course, but the investment needs to be nimble; long term; and contantly reviewed. Does Microsoft meet those objectives?
Elsewhere Fortune reports that MS will 'soon' be starting a campaign to fight against the highly successful Apple Mac ads. However the Apple ads have been running for two years now -- this is hardly the 'agile' business response of an alert, "paranoid', organisation. Thirty years ago I suggested the fall of IBM and the idea was considered risible; well I believe, and have for some time, that the same thing is happening again. Just wait a little... [Updated July 2008 after internal Oracle articles implied this was a less than professional piece. Many thanks]