Zune hit store shelves on Nov. 14--a mere eight months after Allard's team got the go-ahead for the seemingly impossible task of toppling Apple's iPod music player. Contrast that with the five years and some 10,000 Microsoft Corp. workers it took to give birth to the latest version of the company's Windows operating system, Vista, which begins selling to corporate customers on Nov. 30 (and to consumers in January). From the start, Vista has seemed like an anachronism--packaged software in a Web 2.0 era where ever more applications are moving off the PC and onto the Internet, some springing forth in a matter of weeksBusiness Week estima que la empresa debe cambiar ante el creciente asedio de nuevos participantes y nuevas motivaciones:
the point is that Microsoft needs to find its un-Vista. Several of them, in fact. The software giant is entering perhaps the greatest upheaval in its 30-year history. New business models are emerging--from low-cost "open-source" software to advertising-supported Web services--that threaten Microsoft's core business like never before. For investors to care about the company, it needs to find new growth markets. Its $44.3 billion in annual sales are puttering along at an 11% growth pace. Its shares, which soared 9,560% throughout the 1990s, sunk 63% in 2000 when the Internet bubble burst, and they have yet to fully recover.Y directivos como Allard permiten saltar adelante:
Allard and those like him are having an impact. They're showing that strategies to move the company beyond Windows can emerge and be accepted by top brass as nonthreatening. A key moment came six years ago, when Allard insisted that the new Xbox video game console be developed without using Windows. In one meeting, Gates berated him for suggesting that the operating system wasn't up to snuff. But Allard argued that it wasn't specialized enough to handle video gaming. Gates eventually relented, in a decision that is widely seen today as a key to the console's success.
That's exactly what Microsoft needs if it hopes to again set the tech agenda. Windows and Office will deliver more revenues in coming years than the exports of many small nations. But Web spitfires such as Google Inc. and Salesforce.com have the wind at their backs. And while Microsoft continues to recruit top talent, it also continues to see key leaders move on: executives such as Vic Gundotra, a top evangelist in its developer division, who will soon join Google, and Brian Valentine, the longtime leader of the Windows server business, who now works for Amazon.com Inc.