Article: What if Steve Ballmer ran Apple and differences between Apple and Microsoft


This is a smart piece from Elmer-DeWitt parsing another nice read on the topic of Steve Ballmer.

Part of this he attributes to the innovator's dilemma -- Clay Christensen's idea that a company focused on maximizing profits can't pursue a successful new product because of its impact on existing profit margins. Part of it is the kind of people who are attracted to and stay with a company like that.

Ben Thompson is cited:
In the consumer market, it's the immeasurables that matter. It's the ability to surprise and delight, and create evangelists. It's about creating something that developers demand access to, and that consumers implicitly trust. The consumer market is about everything you can't measure, everything Microsoft's legion of mini-Ballmer's can't see and will never appreciate.

Distilled down, this seem to spell out the differences between Apple and Microsoft. It's focus on consumer vs corporate customers. Microsoft has been and continues to be wildly profitable in the enterprise/business, but Apple has found a strong foothold with consumers.

The interesting trend for Apple has been the democratization of technology. As technology marched on towards easier and cheaper coupled with the innovations in the cloud space and mobile data, employees can successfully bring their device of choice to work. Once employees begin integrated their own solution into their work, rather than the spoon fed options from the IT department, the marketplace shifts from satisfying IT managers to satisfying consumers.

That concept seems to resonate with the recent history of Blackberry. RIM/Blackberry got fat and sassy from their relationships with technology integrators while workers demanded new better tools.