Why is it that the once innovative start-up companies turn into stodgy of slow-moving monoliths? Of course in my mind Microsoft is currently at the front of this pack. I remember when Windows first came out to compete with Apple products. They were a young and brash bunch back then. They actually started the business by writing an operating system for the current monolith called IBM. The stories about how all the Microsoft guys would dare to show up in meetings between the two companies without suit and ties was the topic of the day back then. The Microsoft guys just didn’t play by the same rules as those stodgy IBM “suits”.
It’s funny how one company can go one way and another a different path. As I mentioned Apple and Microsoft pretty much started at the same time but have taken very different paths since then. Apple continues today to be the innovator to watch while Microsoft who now imitates others and is watched mainly to see when they will fall from dominance. They have now become the IBM that they so loathed back then while Apple, at least for now, continue to bring out new innovative things on a regular basis.
Will there come a day when Apple will also go stodgy? Is the death of its founder Steve Jobs a beginning of that process? Maybe, maybe not. When the business sector fully embraces Apple products and they are doing that with the iPad now, Microsoft’s dominance in the operating system and business apps will wither away. Someday I would love to tell the folks at the large communications company that forced our engineering division from Macs to Windows PC “I told you so…” but given how slow big business moves even now that time may well be years away.
The “start-up kids” growing into major corporations is on the wane now due to the cash rich companies like FaceBook and Microsoft who gobble them up while they are still infants in the industry. But someday again their will be a brash kid who says no to all that money and becomes the next radical leader to take over an industry. The future economic health of our country, as in the past, depends on that happening.
To close will the Microsoft tablet which is “almost as good as an iPad” become a success. Given the recent history of the company I kind of doubt it….