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If I Was In Charge of Microsoft, the First Thing I Would Do…

Before we talk Microsoft, let me talk about the premise here.  How many times to you hear yourself or someone else make the following statement,  “If I was in charge of that company the first thing I would do would be…”  I hear it every day, and probably utter the phrase myself every other day.

Sometimes we say this about our own company.  Sometimes about a rival.  Sometimes it is the result of a bad experience with a company you love, or a pleasantly surprising experience at a business you never knew existed.

I find it fascinating to hear what people think should be done.  I have a hunch, people in corporate marketing departments might be interested too.  Thus, I introduce the following series of posts.  If I was in Charge…

Now, as a consumer, my belief is that through choosing where to spend your money, you are indirectly in charge, but this is different.  I am saying if you had absolute power to make one change in a company, right now, what would you do?

I like to use Rod Sommer’s matrix of considering ease of implementation relative to size of impact.  So based on this model, the best things to do are those that are easy to get done, and result in huge results.  You may subscribe to a different decision making model.  That is where the fun is.  Your thoughts.

So I hope you will share with the world by commenting.  No idea is too small, or big, and everyone is welcome to play along.

So back to the post.  The first company in this series is one that everyone knows, and many love to hate – Microsoft.  Never in history has a company whose products so many people use so frequently been so hated.  This company literally changed the world with DOS, Windows, Office, and other tools.  However, the firm’ history is full of aggressive business practices that have led many to label it as the devil.

Microsoft has been in the news a lot lately.  From the shortcomings of Windows Vista, to the failed acquisition of Yahoo, to Steve Ballmer getting eggs thrown at him during a speech, Bill Gates’ retirement, and the introduction of their new touch screen technology called Multi-Touch, there are ample headlines about this Redmond, Washington based Goliath.  With all the turmoil facing Microsoft, I think it might be fun to ask “If I were in charge of Microsoft, the first thing I would do would be…”

For me, it would be creating a new version of the Windows operating system that was smaller, faster, and did much less.  The opposite of Vista.  I would want it to be able to perform basic functions, have little vulnerability to computer viruses, and be extremely stable.  No bells.  No whistles.  It would just work.  It should run on any computer built in the last decade, and reflect simplicity and intelligence.  It would never crash, and it would be very responsive to the user.

I would market it to retiring baby boomers, who spend a lot of time exchanging email, looking at pictures, and looking up and storing basic information.  I would then create a stripped down suite of applications to run on the plaform – Office Light.  Using the 80 / 20 rule, this would only offer the most used, and most useful features.  It would be easy to learn, and again it would just “work.”  This would also be ideal for young children, seeking to learn how to use a computer – that would be a second target market.  This could yield a new crop of low end, value priced computers, built to provide basic services and reliable performance, and a whole new market could be created for products.

If I were in charge of Microsoft, that is the first thing I would do.   What about you?  What is the first thing you would do if you were in charge of Microsoft.  Would you try to buy Apple?  37Signals? Would you make a play for  Yahoo again?  Facebook?  LinkedIn?  Would you get out of the software business or focus solely on enterprise applications?  Would you fire Steve Ballmer?  What is the first thing you would do?  Please chime in and share by leaving a comment, and look for more posts like this to follow.