Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Steve Jobs: The Strategies They Shared

13. May 2015

Date: 13-05-2015

Source: The New York Times

In retrospect, things look easy, even obvious.

Microsoft, Intel and Apple each rose to dominance as if their fates were inevitable.

Of course, it never looks so clear as it’s happening. Shelves full of books have been written about these three companies and the outsized personalities who built them — Bill Gates, Andy Grove and Steve Jobs. In a new book, David B. Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School, and Michael A. Cusumano, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, are adding to that literature by applying a strategic framework to the corporate handiwork of the three, and find common themes. They call these shared features “Strategy Rules,” which is also the title of the book.

Mr. Yoffie and Mr. Cusumano have been studying these companies for nearly three decades and have been collaborating off and on for decades.

Initially, Mr. Yoffie was a specialist in corporate strategy, while Mr. Cusumano was an expert in software development and managing product teams. “David was developing high-level strategy, and I was focused on, O.K., how do you get this stuff done,” Mr. Cusumano recalled.  Read the rest of this entry »


Worries That Microsoft Is Growing Too Tricky to Manage

10. September 2013

Date: 09-09-2013
Source: The New York Times

Microsoft MissionSEATTLE — At a time when many people in business believe the number of products at Microsoft should be getting smaller, it is about to become a lot bigger.

Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s handset and services operations, when the deal closes early next year, will increase the company’s head count by 30 percent and add a big, new hardware unit to a dizzying variety of businesses — an unusual situation in an industry where focus is often prized more than breadth.

It’s a concern to everyone from academics to Microsoft alumni. A list of missed opportunities and disappointing investments at the company in the past decade in areas like smartphones, tablets and Internet search have led to the belief that a more focused, nimble collection of mini-Microsofts could respond more effectively to the never-ending flow of disruptive technologies nibbling at its foundations.

“It is very hard to be a broad-based tech conglomerate,” said David Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Thirteen years ago, Microsoft’s competitors and a federal judge demanded that Microsoft be split up because of its market power. But trying to do too much rather than wielding too much power is the issue now. Read the rest of this entry »