Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates sees "disruptive" changes on the horizon, and wants to make sure his executives are paying attention.
So he sent them a memo last month, outlining the importance of online advertising and services as new revenue sources. Gates' memo refers to an earlier letter sent to employees by Ray Ozzie, which included a list of missed opportunities and threats from rivals including Google, Skype, Research In Motion and Apple.
Gates is not new to memo writing; a decade ago, he famously used a memo to turn his company's attention toward the Internet.
Early reaction to the new set of memos was generally positive. Bloggers applauded Gates for recognizing the sweeping changes going on, and for being willing to shake his company up to take advantage of the new realities.
Blog community response:
"We need a multi-party system, trading in Netscape's dominance for Microsoft's wasn't good for anyone, including Microsoft. Netscape was just a developer, albeit an arrogant one. Microsoft at the time wasn't comfortable as the statesman of the industry. Now they have no choice."
"Gates more than anyone understands the importance of being proactive and not reactive. He understands that while these new service offerings aren't a direct threat today, they well could be over time. The key is to leverage the strength of the core Windows and Office platforms and use that as base to extend into these new areas."
"These are powerful documents containing big, bold, and unsettling statements. More than a few cages and empires-under-construction will be rattled by these memos. The winds of change are blowing in the Pacific Northwest and I suspect it will not be long before they are felt across the world."
--The Unofficial Microsoft Weblog