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商业 - 科技

微软走进新时代

Michal Lev-Ram 2012年11月16日

随着Win 8的发布,微软业务的软件和硬件业务重心都将转向移动化,公司现在需要各部门的通力协作。前Windows部门总裁史蒂芬•辛诺夫斯基那种偏执而独断专行的工作风格可能无法适应这样的要求。因此,尽管这位元老级的精英高管一度被视为现任CEO的接班人,现在却不得不黯然离职。

    
即将离职的微软Windows部门总裁史蒂芬•辛诺夫斯基

    Windows部门总裁史蒂芬•辛诺夫斯基的离职震惊了微软(Microsoft)内外。直到这周之前,许多人还认为微软这位元老级的精英高管将是接替现任CEO史蒂夫•鲍尔默的人选。不过,如果不考虑辛诺夫斯基离职(或被要求离职)的原因,同时忽略这次离职可能引发的短期混乱,这次人事变动也许是微软迈向全新的Windows 8时代的积极一步。

    讽刺的是,微软(Microsoft)希望借助Windows 8重夺个人电脑市场,而辛诺夫斯基正是推动Windows 8问世的幕后功臣。与微软之前的Windows系统不同,Windows 8可以同时在PC机、平板电脑和手机上使用。这就需要位于雷蒙德的科技巨头微软的多个部门通力协作。(而该公司恰恰因为内部互不协作而声名狼藉——不了解情况的读者可以点击此处查看微软的组织结构图。)而辛诺夫斯基在微软是一个极端人物。他负责开发的软件从来都能按时发布,但他也是出了名的难以相处。要想让微软的希望——Windows 8获得成功,微软内部各大派系需要继续齐心协力,而不是明争暗斗。

    现任CEO鲍尔默在公司周一发表的声明中暗示了这一点,他说他对“史蒂芬多年来对公司做出的贡献表示感激”,但同时也表示,如今“我们必须让微软所有部门继续齐头并进,让我们服务产品的开发周期更加完整而迅速。”

    辛诺夫斯基本来最有望成为鲍尔默的接班人。毕竟他了解微软各方面的业务,在公司内部也培养了忠心耿耿的追随者团队。不过,如果微软未来走的是各部门通力协作、加快软件更新速度的道路,那么这位前Windows总裁就显得可有可无了。他的离职给了微软培养团队协作型领袖以创造伟大产品的机会,也向外界传达了微软内部团结一致的信息。弗雷斯特研究公司(Forrester Research)的分析师萨拉•罗特曼•艾普斯使用微软的平板电脑Surface写道:“辛诺夫斯基命令控制式的风格给搭档、媒体、分析师和顾客都造成了困惑,而微软当前需要的是清晰透明。”

    此刻的微软正站在了十字路口上。市场研究机构IHS iSuppli近期的报告显示,到2016年,微软在PC机、平板电脑和手机的操作系统上的占有率将会下滑至33%,而2011年这一比例是44%。迄今为止,微软在移动产品市场已经错失了大量机会。微软的“新时代”就是将智能手机和平板电脑与传统的电脑结合起来,这一切都有赖于Windows 8系统。这不仅仅意味着微软在硬件和软件上的重心都会偏向移动产品,也不单是在其富有竞争力的部门之间架起桥梁,让微软的所有产品受益于同一种技术。

    The departure of Windows chief Steven Sinofsky came as a shock both inside and outside of Microsoft. Up until this week, many believed the long-time, powerful exec was next in line for current CEO Steve Ballmer's job. But regardless of Sinofsky's reasons for leaving (or being asked to leave), and the short-term turmoil it will likely cause, it may turn out to be a positive step for Microsoft as the company heads into a new, Windows 8-driven era.

    Ironically, Sinfosky was the driving force behind Windows 8, the company's attempt to reclaim lost relevance in the personal computing world. Unlike previous versions of Microsoft's (MSFT) operating system, Windows 8 encompasses PCs, tablets and phones. It required the various divisions of the Redmond-based tech giant to work together. (The company is notorious for the opposite -- if you haven't seen it before, check out the satirical take on its organizational chart here.) But Sinfosky was a polarizing figure at Microsoft. He had an impressive track record for delivering software on time but was known for his combative style. For Windows 8 -- the future of Microsoft -- to succeed, the company's various factions need to continue to collaborate, not compete.

    Current CEO Ballmer alluded to this need in a release issued by the company on Monday, saying he is "grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company," but adding that it is now "imperative that we continue to drive alignment across all Microsoft teams, and have more integrated and rapid development cycles for our offerings."

    Sinofsky seemed the most logical future successor to Ballmer. After all, he knew the business inside and out and had developed a loyal group of followers at the company. But if Microsoft's future is all about driving alignment within the company and faster software updates, the former Windows head didn't have the necessary profile. His departure presents an opportunity for Microsoft to cultivate leaders that can work together to build great products--and convey a more unified message to outsiders. "Sinofsky's command-and-control approach has yielded confusion (among partners, media, analysts, and customers) exactly at the moment where Microsoft needs clarity," writes Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps (from her Microsoft Surface tablet).

    Microsoft stands at a crossroads. According to a recent report from IHS iSuppli, the company's share of the operating system market for PCs, tablets and phones is expected to slip to 33% in 2016, down from 44% in 2011. Up to now, it has largely missed out on mobile. The "new era" at Microsoft is all marrying smartphones and tablets with traditional computing, all under the umbrella of Windows 8. And it doesn't just mean a more mobility-centric hardware and software focus, or bridging the gaps between its notoriously competitive divisions so that all Microsoft products benefit from the same technology.

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