Since Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced its reorganization on Wednesday, there have been plenty of views shared about what the company is doing. Now of course the comparison has been drawn between Microsoft and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Does Microsoft want to be like Apple? CNN Money Sr. Editor at Large Adam Lashinsky thinks so. He draws some comparisons between the changes being made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the ones made by Steve Jobs at Apple between 1997 and 2011.
One Microsoft, One Apple
Let’s start with the new vision: One Microsoft. According to Lashinsky, who has spent a great deal of time covering Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Steve Jobs really hated divisions within a company. He wanted just a single Apple with just one strategy, brand and message. This is essentially what Ballmer has done by shifting executives around and changing from organization by product to organization by function.
He said at Apple, there’s one person called the “directly responsible individual” for each task or initiative. Ballmer said specifically that there would be a “champion” for “every major initiative.” He says this change is all about accountability.
The Transformation Into One Apple
Lashinsky points to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s status when Steve Jobs returned in 1997. It was disorganized and divisive, and there were different agendas competing with each other. Jobs refocused the company into a single effort and ditched a number of failing products. He unified the advertising budgets in order to deliver a single message around Apple products. At Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Ballmer also talks about centralizing their advertising and media initiatives.
Will Apple's Approach Work For Microsoft
The editor also considers whether what worked for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will work for Microsoft. He said that with Jobs gone now, the world is different. Stanford professor Charles O’Reilly predicted that the process would only work for Jobs because of his management style. Jobs is described as “dictatorial, feared, charismatic, respected” and “multi-talented.”
So will the same tactic Ballmer has taken work at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)? It’s worth mentioning that when planning the company’s reorganization, he did get some advice from Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) CEO Alan Mulally, who has a history of turning giants like Microsoft around.