How Microsoft Overcame Its Failures
Microsoft is a technology company that specializes in software, hardware and cloud services. Its best-known products include the Windows line of operating systems and the Office suite of productivity software. Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Washington and has offices worldwide.
Its products have a reputation for being reliable and durable, but even Microsoft has had its share of failures. A few notable examples are the company’s futile attempts to enter the smartphone market and its Zune music player, and the failure of Windows 8. But despite these setbacks, Microsoft has more wins than losses. The company’s stock is currently trading at an all-time high. So how did a stodgy giant like Microsoft overcome such hurdles and regain its footing?
The answer lies in the transformation of the company’s culture under Satya Nadella, the current CEO. Nadella has recast Microsoft as an innovative startup rather than a lumbering, protective giant. One way he did this was to impose an intense focus on customers. Microsoft now tracks product performance through a number of metrics, including customer feedback and usage statistics. Nadella has also reduced hierarchies and allowed engineers to work more independently.
As a result of this cultural shift, employees are more likely to embrace new ideas and challenge the status quo. For instance, employees are encouraged to attend hackathons, where they can develop innovative projects with other Microsoft engineers from all divisions and locations. They’re also encouraged to create and test new features in a low-risk environment without the need for managerial approval.
Additionally, the company has begun to release software that runs on platforms other than Windows. The.Net framework was originally designed to run on Windows, but the company expanded it to run on Linux and mobile devices. This led to the creation of several implementations of.Net, such as.Net Core, Xamarin and others. In 2019, Microsoft announced that it would combine these into a single platform called.Net 5 Framework, which will run on all Windows, Mac and Linux devices.
Lastly, Microsoft has recognized that the most valuable assets in startups are their people. That’s why the company has made a concerted effort to invest in and elevate talented employees from a range of small tech companies it has acquired. This enables the company to quickly address changing consumer demands and technological changes in an increasingly competitive world.