close this bookVolume 8: No. 3.3
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentApple/Microsoft news
View the documentResearch software (in our CRS 8.03 digest this week)
View the documentStatistics and probability
View the documentGenetic algorithms
View the documentLibrary services

Gil Amelio's new book says that what prevented his turning Apple around may have been a culture clash: "Brioni suits and oxfords meeting Levi's and Birkenstocks." That, and that Steve Jobs kept undermining his relationship with the board. [USA Today, 16Jan98. EduP.] (The board has been begging and bribing Steve Jobs to stay on, but he hasn't accepted yet. Analyst Mark R. Anderson says that if Steve stays, the stock may reach $35 again; if he leaves, the company is doomed.)

Microsoft has a long history of hiring nerds with no outside life, people who are intellectually arrogant and socially inept. (About a fifth of them are now millionaires, of course.) The company also has a market warrior and courtroom warrior culture, and is used to being attacked by competitors. However, lately it's been getting criticism from customers and others with no economic motive. Employees themselves are asking what's going on, and how they got to be less popular than the government (and on a par with tobacco executives). That plus a dropping stock price and a growing sense of government's power has reduced the company's swagger in public and private statements. [Timothy Egan, NY Times. SJM, 17Jan98, 1C.]

On the other hand, Microsoft is probably right that the government can't draw a line between operating system functions and application modules. It's still being quite arrogant about that. And the company is definitely getting better at the Washington power game. And even if the government were to split it up, the result might be just a leaner, more efficient Microsoft. Columnist Dan Gillmore suggests that Microsoft's arrogance in court might be a deliberate tactic to anger the judge into an over- reaction, generating cause for an appeal. [SJM, 20Jan98, 1C.]