ASYMCO: Steve Ballmer and The Innovator's Curse

InsightaaS: Horace Dediu’s ASYMCO is a fascinating source of insight into issues pertaining to Apple, and to the smartphone and related markets generally. In this post, ASYMCO turns its attention to Microsoft. In keeping with ASYMCO's overall position, Dediu challenges conventional wisdom - closing by observing that "Steve Ballmer will not be remembered as favorably as the man who created Microsoft. But at least he won’t be remembered as the fool who killed it. That epitaph is reserved for his successor."

The most common, almost universally accepted reason for company failure is "the stupid manager theory". It’s the corollary to "the smart manager theory" which is used to describe almost all company successes. The only problem with this theory is that it is usually the same managers who run the company while it’s successful as when it’s not. Therefore for the theory to be valid then the smart manager must have turned stupid at a specific moment in time, and as most companies in an industry fail in unison, then the stupidity bit must have been flipped in more than one individual at the same time in some massive conspiracy to fail simultaneously.

So the failures of Microsoft to move beyond the rapidly evaporating Windows business model are attributed to the personal failings of its CEO...

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