Stross, an academic business historian, was given unlimited access to interview Microsoft employees and managers and to rifle through most of Microsoft's corporate records. His main conclusion? That Microsoft's phenomenal success is due in large part to its consistent insistence on hiring the smartest people, and that much Microsoft bashing is reflective of an anti-intellectual strain in American culture. Whether you idolize or despise Microsoft, this book is well worth reading--especially if you are in any way responsible for hiring the best and the brightest for your
From Publishers Weekly
To critics, Bill Gates's Microsoft Inc. is the apotheosis of brute-force ruthless marketing, but in this lively, independent-minded report, Stross (Steve Jobs and the Next Big Thing) finds a different explanation for Microsoft's success: Gates's strategy of hiring the smartest software developers, keeping their allegiance with lucrative stock options, fostering an egalitarian creative atmosphere and perpetuating the identity of small working groups. A business professor at San Jose State University in California, Stross had unfettered access to Gates, his employees and the company's internal files, making this a privileged, revealing window on Microsoft's inner workings. He charts the firm's long, rocky struggle to win broad consumer acceptance of CD-ROMs, as well as the saga of Microsoft's bestselling multimedia encyclopedia, Encarta. Microsoft was caught unprepared by the advent of the Internet, and its failed attempt to outdo a small but feisty rival, Intuit, in the personal finance software market, demonstrates that Gates is far from infallible, yet Microsoft has swiftly adapted to an Internet-centered software universe, which to Stross signifies a company constantly learning as it grows.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.