Microsoft Essay

1198 words - 5 pages

Microsoft is an international corporation based in Redmond, Washington. The company was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. It is the largest software developer in the world by revenue, and it has diversified its market significantly since the 1990s with many new acquisitions and product developments in both the hardware and software market. Microsoft is known for having brought MS-DOS and the subsequent line of Windows operating systems to the world starting in the 1980s; arguably the company’s biggest claim to fame. Microsoft’s mission objective, as stated on their company website, is “to create an environment that helps Microsoft capitalize on the diversity of its people and the inclusion of ideas and solutions to meet the needs of its increasingly global and diverse customer base”.

Microsoft’s management structure is comprised of separate divisions which focus on a specific lines of goods. Each division has their own customer service, sales and R&D staff. In the past year, these divisions have seen a complete overhaul and reorganization in order to focus on a different range of consumer needs. Until recently, Microsoft employed a system called “stack ranking”, which forced management to rank employees on a bell curve, with only a small percentage rated as “top performers”. The set number of employees to be found lowest on the bell curve were first in line to be either fired or “pushed out”. This system has been ubiquitous in many large companies for years, however the overwhelming majority are phasing it out due to the realization that this method often stunts performance, forcing employees to work in competition against each other. This adversely affects the potential for effective collaboration, something which is key to a company such as Microsoft due to the innovative nature of the products they offer. Microsoft has explicitly stated in an address to its employees worldwide that the new system intends to put “more emphasis on teamwork and collaboration, [as well as] ...employee growth and development” (The Verge, Article 5094864, 11/12/13). Microsoft is known for its wide range of internal jargon such as “eating our own dog food” also termed “dogfooding”. This is when the company, along with its software developers will test out a product themselves in real world situations prior to releasing it to the public.

Microsoft has historically been heavily linked to business users, however it has recently announced a shift in its company organization to deliver “services and devices for individuals and businesses optimized for use at home, at work and on the go” (Fiercemobileit.com, Microsoft's sweeping reorganization shifts focus to services, devices, 07/11/13). Microsoft intends to align its corporate structure based on function, focusing on four specific areas: OS, Apps, Cloud, and Devices. This realignment seeks to focus on the user experience, as well as innovation with emphasis on what Steve Balmer, Microsoft CEO, refers to...

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