Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Brian Bergstein

A View from Brian Bergstein

How Many Tries Does Microsoft Get?

Microsoft revamps its corporate structure to “rally behind a single strategy.” What took so long?

  • July 11, 2013

When Windows 8 turned out to be strange and disappointing, the problems had a familiar ring. After all, this came from Microsoft, the company that also gave us Windows Vista. The fact that Microsoft, which does a lot of things right (such as Xbox and Kinect and even Office, love it or hate it), managed to also do something wrong felt perfectly Microsoftian (Redmondish?).

Equally Microsoftian: recognize that things aren’t working smoothly and reorganize. CNNMoney counts at least seven major restructurings of the company’s operations since 2002. The latest one was announced today, in an attempt to get everyone working together more seamlessly on linking hardware, software, and services. The head of HR tells the New York Times that “this is the biggest thing we’ve ever done.” Eight product divisions are being consolidated into four. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, “managers will oversee different kinds of functions—like engineering, marketing and finance—and apply them to multiple product and service offerings.” 

It all makes sense, of course, but it doesn’t change the underlying fact that even if Windows 8 had been a huge hit, PC sales are experiencing the longest decline ever, as the AP points out. To deal with that trend, Microsoft probably needs to take even bigger risks, like creating more of its own hardware. You’ll know it’s setting a bolder course when its executives stop talking in big generalities that reflect the company’s traditional role as the glue of the PC era. For instance, when we asked CEO Steve Ballmer in our 50 Disruptive Companies package last winter about his vision for the future of computing, he trotted out a familiar line about “empowering people and businesses to realize their potential.” There are any number of ways to execute on that idea, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised to someday see yet another restructuring.

Meet the Experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy at EmTech Next.

Learn more and register
More from Business Impact

How technology advances are changing the economy and providing new opportunities in many industries.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.