It's a sad tale, if you hear Dick Brass tell it. In a new op-ed for the New York Times
, the former Microsoft VP explains how he thinks the Microsoft corporate culture has "never developed a true system for innovation," and that while the company is obviously strong at the moment, he doesn't see the company retaining its dominance if or when the Office and Windows revenues die down. His own anecdotes are a little heartbreaking: his team developed ClearType (first announced in 1998), but due to infighting and jealousy within the company, was kept from shipping as a default until 2007 with Windows Vista. Similarly he argues that the Tablet PC
was much restricted by an Office team that didn't believe in the concept, and therefore never developed a version of Office that was stylus-friendly. Dick left the company in 2004, and he says the tablet group at Microsoft has since been eliminated, and that almost all the executives in charge of "music, e-books, phone, online, search and tablet efforts over the past decade" have also left. The man isn't out to get Microsoft: he sees the company as important, and its profits have obviously gone to great philanthropic ends through Bill Gates and others, but if what he says about the anti-innovative corporate culture is true, it sounds like Microsoft has some work to do before it can return to its place of preeminence as an innovator, instead of the fast and effective follower it seems to be becoming in many areas.