Microsoft has enjoyed the last decade and a half tripling its sales to nearly eighty billion US dollars. Most of that time, the company has been led by Bill Gates’s success Steve Ballmer until his succession by Satya Nadella in 2014. Similarly, Apple has doubled its revenues and its bank balance stands at three quarters of a trillion dollars under Steve Jobs’s successor Tim Cook. While analyzing purely from a sales point of view, both Ballmer and Cook can be considered successes, deeper introspection suggests that they missed out on a number of long-term goals. Both Gates and Jobs were visionary leaders, but unfortunately their organizations had scope for only one such. That is the reason that in order to execute the business innovations, both Microsoft and Apple’s top cadre was filled up by implementers, not innovators. Visionary leaders work best with top notch operating executives, assign one of them as successors, and in the process freeze out other creative personnel. Microsoft entered this century with 95% of the Operating Systems primarily in desktops, but now holds just 1% of the smartphone OS market. It lost out to Google in search, smartphones to Apple, media to Netflix plus Apple, cloud to Amazon and mobile OS to Google plus Apple. Similarly, Apple is going through such a phase having been so far unable to tap into the Artificial Intelligence or Virtual Reality markets where Amazon and Google have already stolen a march. At least, Microsoft is now on correction mode ever since, Nadella has taken over the helm.



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