A former Vice president and product manager at Microsoft, Brad Silverberg has revealed Bill Gates worst decisions as the CEO of one of the World’s most powerful company.
Brad Silverberg who is the Co-founder Fuel Capital and Partner at Ignition Partners also highlighted the best decisions of the world richest man as Chief Executive.
Writing on Quora, Brad explains;
“One of the things I learned at Microsoft is that being smart is not the same as being right. As smart as Bill and many of the people were, some bad decisions were made.
“Top of the list for me is that Bill did not engage – either himself or the company – in the political process early enough. When Microsoft’s competitors were effectively lobbying the government, Bill’s attitude was the government should just go away and leave Microsoft alone. In his view the company was competing hard but fairly; it was creating value for customers and that should be enough. Well, this approach of not constructively engaging the government and concerned politicians, of not alleviating concerns that were not going to go away, was a disaster. The US federal government, many states, and the EU all essentially declared war on Microsoft, and Microsoft paid a devastating price.
“Intel did a better job figuring out how to negotiate with the government and avoided the catastrophic fate Microsoft suffered. Google has done a better job with the US government but it seems the EU is on Google’s case now.
“Bill also had a difficult time figuring out how to respond to the opportunity / threat of the Internet. It’s understandable. When you own Windows in the late 90’s, life is good and why would you want things to change? Bill’s view was to protect Windows, and didn’t come up with an approach that kept Windows and Microsoft’s systems strategy at the forefront. The result is that Microsoft’s strategic position declined in the 2000’s. It’s now coming to grips with the new reality and making necessary, if belated, changes.
“Bill’s pursuit of Longhorn led to the debacle that was Vista, though Bill was Chief Software Architect, not CEO, at the time.”
Earlier, Brad had also shared what he believed were Bill Gates best decisions as CEO.
Here is what he wrote;
“Bill is one of the all time great CEOs in American business history. He had the vision to understand the power of software and how to build a large, successful business around software, something that had not been done before. He established a mission for the company that was breathtakingly broad and ambitious at the time : a computer on every desktop and in every home, running Microsoft software. He was driven by expanding the market as broadly as possible around the world and prioritizing towards market share.
“It is difficult to convey just how smart he is. He is ambitious and competitive, both externally and setting up internal competition. He aggressively recruited very smart people, gave them lots of responsibility, and held them to high standards. His insights and ability to create high performance organization is one of his best decisions.
“He understood the synergistic power of applications driving the platform, and the platform driving applications. His decision to create product groups for applications (e.g, Office), systems platforms (Windows), developer tools, and developer relations was brilliant. He had the insight to understand the virtuous cycle that gets created among users, platforms, applications, and partners. He understood how important growing the market and taking share was to a software business that has large fixed costs and tiny marginal costs.
“His decision to divorce IBM stands as one of his best. Microsoft took control over its own destiny. The company built itself around Windows and Office. The decision to bundle and integrate individual apps into Office was also a brilliant one. The decision to have the consumer focused Windows 3.x/95 and the business focused Windows NT sharing a common Win32 API was also brilliant, and then merging the two when NT was ready (e.g., XP) was also brilliant.
“I would also say his decision to broaden the company from a desktop oriented company (Office, Windows 3.x) of the early 90’s to an enterprise company (Windows NT, Windows Server, server applications and management tools) was what created the modern Microsoft as the premier supplier of enterprise software.”