I love working on the Mac. I enjoy working in MacBU. These days, however, I'm not so thrilled about the vibe hanging around here at Microsoft as a whole.
We seem to have lost our self-confidence. There is a general and constant focus on "the other guys" these days. It's like everyone is continually contemplating competitive response, rather than acting for our customers. First it's open source software, then it's Linux, then it's Google, now it's Apple. Tomorrow it will be something or someone else. Least someone misunderstand, I'm all for looking out for the competition, but if all your focus is on how to respond to some perceived or real competitive threat, how will you ever be able to innovate, come up with something original or surprise and delight your customers? It's just paralyzing.
I wish folks would just realize that we are not going to be all things to all people. That's okay. We've got a job to do, and we have a very reasonable opportunity to do some very wonderful things. Let's stop worrying about the competition, or about what we can't do just yet. Can't we just focus on making our customers amazingly happy? Perhaps I'm too simplistic, but if we do just that, I really think everything else will work out.
I feel like we've lost our identity looking at and comparing ourselves with others. The insecurity and lack of confidence seems to be everywhere. You can see it in the way employees "defend their Microsoft position" rather than "just tell the story" because it's a good one.
It wasn't always like this.
What's totally ironic about this present situation is that this is exactly where Apple was, only a few years ago. In an interview at the "All Things Digital" Conference this year, Steve Jobs said this about that time at Apple:
[There was this belief that] for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose, and it was clear that you didn’t have to play that game because Apple wasn’t going to beat Microsoft. Apple didn’t have to beat Microsoft. Apple had to remember who Apple was because it had forgotten who Apple was. So for me it was pretty essential to break that paradigm.
There is space in this big old world for everyone, Apple, Google, free software and yes, even Microsoft. We don't have to be Apple to be successful. We don't have to be Google either. We just need to be Microsoft.