Thursday, May 08, 2008

Chayanir -
Microsoft Needs to Reinvent Itself

Microsoft’s decision to withdraw its offer to acquire Yahoo! was a sensible one. Throughout, the dialogue was shrill, the intention bad and the move desperate. Even if Microsoft succeeded, it would have been a pyrrhic victory. As long as the company continues to think of “Search” as the holy grail of computing, a game that Google plays to perfection, Microsoft will be playing catch up and fall further behind its nemesis.

It is critical for Microsoft to reinvent itself if it wants to regain some of its former glory. It is possible but it will require Steve Ballmer to set his priorities right. Forget trying to compete online with Google through acquisitions, even if the acquisition brings you Facebook. Not much will change. Instead, focus on the creativity of your company’s most brilliant minds to chart a new direction that will make “Search” only one of the Web's crown jewel, as opposed to its most lustrous and overpowering one.

As one with a flair for mathematics, Ballmer should know that while the brute force method can be used to solve a particularly complex equation, a powerful and intuitive solution awaits discovery by gifted mathematicians inspired to think along new and original lines.

Get off the beaten track. Forge a new trail. The revenue will follow if you can capture the imagination of young geeks as Bill Gates did at the dawn of personal computing three decades ago.

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