Re: MS are Floundering
None of this is pro MS, just large business in general. There's a point beyond which a company cannot grow without wildly throwing things into the crowd to see what happens. You become so large that it's impossible to have company wide strategies that you can summarize without being ridiculously vague (we're a services company) or insanely granular (we're a services company with offerings tailored to every possible use imaginable. Please review our latest 35,000 page roadmap).
Hidden behind any large company's flagship products are other products and services nobody even knows exists. Little sub-groups that are bigger than most other businesses, all operating fairly autonomously and there's very little intergroup collaboration or communication. It's all just too large to manage centrally and it's folly to even try. You give those little autonomous groups the resources they request, and enough room to hang themselves, and see what happens. You don't actually get involved unless something goes terribly wrong.
Since everything is under a single brand (Microsoft in this case) it gives the impression that some senior executive is discussing individual products and services with the CEO, but that's not how it works. That's what Directors and Group Directors are for you know.
There's nothing 'wrong' with the shotgun approach, like I said, it's required past a certain point, but the trick is to learn from what doesn't work. You can throw $80M at a project and cancel it in six months, that's fine, but you've got to know why it had to die. You can't just execute a project because the numbers weren't solid without knowing why they weren't solid. It's that part where MS is slipping. They aren't listening or learning. They've become so huge and insular they are mistaking their internal logic as reality. Maybe new guy can fix it. So far he seems like a boring person and that's never good for fixing anything.