Reinventing the wheel by ignoring your internal experts

wheelby lusikkolbaskin

Charlie Kindel on Microsoft, the Hardware Company
[Via Daring Fireball]

Charlie Kindel:

I know some of the people who drove the Xbox360 hardware design and supply chain management. They are now war scarred and seasoned experts. They are the type of people you want working on the next big thing. None of them even knew about Surface until it was announced. Typical Microsoft organizational silos.


Microsoft is a software company that makes a couple of successful hardware products.

There are a couple of big differences between hardware and software that are relevant – hardware has to be physically assembled and it has to be physically distributed, neither of which is required for software.

Microsoft has had some real glitches with modern hardware.

Now it talks about competing with the largest high tech company in the world by producing a tablet that it will only sell at its online store and at its own retail Microsoft stores. There are only 29 of these in the world – 26 of them in the US. Hard to see how that will compete with Apple which has 373 stores in 13 countries.

The fact that they did not even connect internally with anyone who had real life experience with assembling and shipping a hardware component is also worrisome.

Rediscovering the wheel is a common problem with large, process driven companies. It can not be something that 21st century companies routinely allow.

Because they will be outflanked by those companies that do not reinvent the wheel, that are much more efficient with their resources.