Corporate culture

Dick Brass: Why Microsoft is 'failing'

February 4, 2010: 6:37 AM ET

The former New York Daily News editor who ran Bill Gates' Tablet PC division tells all

In the week since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad, there's been a lot of talk about where this leaves Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle.

"But the much more important question," writes Dick Brass in an essay prominently displayed on the OpEd page of Thursday's New York Times,

"is why Microsoft, America's most famous and prosperous technology company, no longer brings us the future, whether it's tablet computers like the iPad, e-books like Amazon's Kindle, smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone, search engines like Google, digital music systems like iPod and iTunes or popular Web services like Facebook and Twitter."

Part of the answer, Brass writes, is that Microsoft (MSFT) put too much faith in people like him, a former tabloid journalist and serial entrepreneur who wrote speeches for Oracle's (ORCL) Larry Ellison before coming to Redmond to head the division that built the Tablet PC.

But mostly, he says, it's because of internecine warfare among Microsoft's established divisions and a "dysfunctional" corporate culture that squashes innovation.

To support his contention, he offers a couple of telling anecdotes in which he does everything but name names:

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