Microsoft atrophying as it loses another high profile staffer?

by admin on August 9, 2006

in Innovation

Niall Kennedy is leaving Microsoft to do his own thing. For those that don’t know, Niall is one of the world’s leading RSS experts and to get a sense of his standing, you only need look at the list of people commenting on his site. Many A-listers.

Niall makes some chilling statements that speak volumes about the way the Redmond Giant appears to be atrophying:

The stock plummeted on the announcement Microsoft did not have its costs under control…What do you do when the market responds to your 6 month-old online services strategy by reducing your valuation by 1.5 Yahoos? Windows Live is under some heavy change, reorganization, pullback, and general paralysis and unfortunately my ability to perform, hire, and execute was completely frozen as well.

My sense is the accountants are back in charge of running the farm. This is very bad news because they’ve clearly got a bunch of stock analyst brown nosers rather than number savvy innovators. Of course Microsoft has a duty to its shareholders. But in a world where innovation is currently dominated by the small, often independent vendors, the big boys need a new game plan. That has to include putting innovation on the front burner, not extinguish it altogether.

I never really understand why companies like Microsoft cannot work out who the stars are in the organisation, allocate funds accordingly and let them get on with their jobs. But then big business tends to react in this sweeping manner, losing value along the way. Think about it for a moment. What would it have cost? $200K to keep Niall on track? $300K? That’s a fleabite for a company like Microsoft.

The real sadness is that the work Niall’s been doing would have gone a long way to convincing sceptics that RSS is not only a viable but also a worthwhile technology, worthy of creative development and becoming mainstream.

I’ve not always agreed with Niall and certainly felt his move to Microsoft wouldn’t fit his character or the things he stands for. Looks like that has proven correct. Good luck fella.

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David Tebbutt August 9, 2006 at 6:08 am

"What would it have cost? $200K to keep Niall on track? $300K? That’s a fleabite for a company like Microsoft."

As a quiet backhander, it would have probably made Niall feel uncomfortable (I'm guessing, of course.) As salary, it would have caused distortion and resentment.

As stock, it would be an offer all too easy to refuse.

He's well off out of it by the sound of things.

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