Adam Barr of ‘Proudly Serving My Corporate Masters‘ poses the idea:

…that when Bill and Steve retire, they do so together, and at that moment Microsoft is split into seven companies. Actually six companies, because client and server and tools are too intermingled to separate. Microsoft Research either sticks with one of the six, or else gets spun off into a separate company owned by the other six, everything cross-patented to the hilt. Shareholders in Microsoft get shares in all the companies, and then it’s up to the stock market to decide.

We can only wish.

Each of those 6 companies would be a powerhouse, starting with a pre-built market, but without the parent to fall back on (and the juggernaut of the entire company) they’d need to learn to be more nimble, more cooperative AND more competitive with the rest of the market. I don’t dislike anything just because it’s got the name Microsoft, I generally dislike the behavior of the corporation as a whole, and six little baby-Microsofts are going to have to behave differently.

That said, the details are legion… There would need to be a few cost centers that all the groups would contribute to, like whatever phone technical support organization exists, and stuff like Channel 9 (after all, what would Scoble do without access to the whole company to dredge up the little cool technologies), and other marketing arms, and the legal organization, and possibly some shared ownership of the distribution centers… It’s the niggling little details that make it a hard sell, and would seem to doom any effort like that.

Still, I can see some parts of that company I’d work for, where I wouldn’t work for those divisions right now.

There’s value in being part of an organization where you KNOW that your work contributes noticably to the success of the company, as opposed to working for a company where the interest earned on cash held in reserve over one year will dwarf any contributions you can ever make in your lifetime to the company bottom line.

I’ve long been a fan of the idea of splitting Microsoft, not as a punitive measure, but because the end result will be a number of powerful companies that will be quicker, more competitive (but not powerful enough alone to crush competition by fiat), and yet more cooperative with the rest of the market as the ‘darling’ position of being able to be delivered/bundled with the operating system vanishes for much of the product lines.

I find it funny that the /. crowd often considers splitting the company up a punitive measure. They should remeber Obi-Wan.

“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine…”
— Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi

Oh, and welcome to my new blog. I decided that LiveJournal ( and ) was taking too long to support trackback and pingbacks, so I installed WordPress, and constructed my own theme for it, hacked up a bunch of the plugins, set up the ‘Mirror to LiveJournal’ plugin, and am pretty much set.

So. Welcome.

— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

1 Comment

  1. On Robert Scoble Says:

    Heh. Well, in the past few weeks I’ve interviewed at Amazon and Google, so I don’t think that getting into “mini-Microsoft’s” would be too hard for me to do. 😉