CEO Steve Ballmer has put into action his titanic new reorganization process, one that is expected to continue for a year at least, and is supposed to push the Redmond Empire towards a devices and services concept.

And the thing about a devices and services concept is that innovation is an absolute necessity for success of a company that is in this domain. But according a former Microsoftie, the technology titan has lost its innovative edge — the coolness factor.

Robert Scoble, a former Microsoft evangelist, in an interview with Fairfax Media, explained his viewpoint that Redmond needs to do what Google and Apple is doing. He claims that while innovation is crucial, Microsoft however has failed to get itself noticed in both the tablets and smartphone markets.

Scoble left the company back in June 2006. And according to The Age, he recently said:

“Since I’ve left Microsoft, what have they done that’s interesting? Microsoft Kinect is the only thing I can think of and for a company that has 90,000 employees, to have only one product that you can point to that’s innovative, that’s pretty disappointing I think.”

He then compares Microsoft with Google, saying:

“Compare that to Google, which is showing you self-driving cars, Google Glass and a phone that you can talk to, the Moto X, and on and on — automatic picture improvements on Google+ — It’s a much more innovative company that is driving the future harder and faster.”

And according to Scoble, one of the reasons why Microsoft is slow to innovate right now is the company’s current leadership. The former employee explained that Steve Ballmer is actually trying to make more money by bring innovative technologies to market. It does not always work this way:

“I just don’t believe Steve Ballmer really likes the future. When I interviewed him he said innovation is something cool that makes a lot of money. And that’s absolutely not true. Google Glass might never make a dollar but it’s new, it’s interesting and it causes conversations. If you’re an innovator, you push the future ahead. You don’t care whether it necessarily makes a dollar.”

The former Microsoftie also labeled both Apple and Google as the current trendsetters in the IT industry. He pointed out that both companies are now working on the next frontier — wearable computing gadgets — which according to the latest rumors Microsoft is also hard at work on.

Right then, you heard the chap. Now it’s your turn to talk. What do you guys think? Comment away!

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  • Onuora Amobi

    OK so how epic is that quote?

    “Microsoft Kinect is the only thing I can think of and for a company that has 90,000 employees, to have only one product that you can point to that’s innovative, that’s pretty disappointing I think.”

    Thats pretty harsh?

    • Rodney Longoria

      Fast-food has obviously blocked his thinking capabilities. Oh, was THAT too harsh? 😉

      He looks like John Dvorak’s younger brother.

      • Onuora Amobi


        A tad…

    • DCJason

      Hmmmm, that’s it? Not even the Surface received a mention? Windows Phone? How did someone who quit/was fired 7 years ago NOW all of a sudden get his 15 minutes? Why is this news? Why not have an interview from another former MS employee who IS praising MS innovation? It would be a fair balance.

      • Onuora Amobi

        More than happy to put up a response from Microsoft if they have one.


  • Rodney Longoria


    Well, there’s probably a reason he’s an ex-employee, so I don’t give him much stock here (sour grapes, etc). I think that Google is an innovative company on the whole, but Android is becoming blasé. Nothing new to see here. And has he even checked out the specs on the new Moto X — really?

    Changing the size of things is NOT innovative regarding Apple’s wares, in my opinion.

    If Ballmer was in charge of product development, then I might agree with Scoble somewhat, but he’s not. He has teams that do that.

    • garak0410

      I agree on your blasé comment. I need a 7 inch tablet and when there screen on there Iconia W3 failed to impress, I picked up a Nexus 7. While is is snappy and makes for a good reader, I forgot how nauseating Android could be…

  • 123321

    wrong way.
    microsoft never had sth like a coolnessfactor. but since they reoriented themselves and seem to bring everything togheter so everything can work seemlessly oh and especially since the surface i think microsoft is starting to get a littel bit of coolness. just go on! i like the way they are going, but they should go faster.

  • Mike Greenway

    Have you ever here anyone say “I was fired by company X and they are the best at everything, then my wife divorced me and she is the best woman in the world. Maybe I’m not as smart as I think I am”? Many people use this same tactic, they build themselves up by running others down, however it only works on lost sheep. If he is an expert, shouldn’t he be able to reference his own innovative triumphs instead of Apple’s?
    Just because a opinion is different doesn’t automatically make it worth posting.

  • Damian Vansen

    Microsoft is not innovative? I disagree, in fact MS seems to be getting criticism from critics for making big changes with Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Surface RT, Surface Pro, the new Xbox, MS Office online, restructuring their company. Now some critics are saying that they don’t create enough change or bring out new products? Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  • Ray C

    None of this stuff he’s talking about from other companies is anything new or something they’re the only ones doing. Do you think no one before Google had an idea like Google Glass? They were also not the first to think of Self-Driving cars. Some of these other companies have more new products, but to say they’re a lot more innovative is a stretch. No one has any “wow” factor products coming out now, at least not solely and directly from these computer companies. Now I admit Microsoft does need to focus more on other concepts other than simply functionality in future products because that is one thing that kept Apple so popular, but this guy is off base.

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