Fixing MSFT’s Culture

Source: WSJ, Aug 2013

Whoever succeeds Mr. Ballmer at Microsoft will face the challenge of rebooting its corporate culture, in which charting the safe but profitable course—at least for the short term—too often wins out over innovation, say current and former Microsoft employees and other industry executives.

So ingrained is Microsoft’s culture of protecting entrenched interests that swinging for the fences is sometimes punished, and so people stopped trying, say current and former employees and outsiders. They say that an outsider CEO may be the best choice to welcome back technologists who think outside the box.

“Without that ‘wow cool’ [factor] it gets very hard to hire the best and brightest talent,” said Jim Whitehurst, chief executive of Red Hat Inc., RHT -0.75% which sells computer-server software that competes with Microsoft. “You have to lay out the next goal to inspire people inside and outside.”

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