Microsoft and innovation

I’ve been so head down with my work that I am only just catching up with dozens of interesting discussions. The debate between Dave Winer and Robert Scoble about whether Microsoft is an innovator, hosted by The Wall Street Journal, is well worth a look. I particularly appreciated Dave’s point: “I say [Microsoft doesn’t] do it. To expect them to innovate would be like expecting a football quarterback to throw a shutout. Different sports. Innovation comes from individuals, and with Microsoft the big old stodgy giant that it is, it can’t handle the rugged individualism that real innovators bring to the party. People at Microsoft are more interested in keeping things nice and predictable, they care too much about manners, and innovation is anything but predictable, or mannerly!”

Some of the discussion is at cross-purposes. I suspect it’s because Scoble and Winer are talking about different kinds of innovation. Scoble, citing things like True Type, better search and Halo (I find it hard to credit gory games as an innovation), is talking about incremental innovation. Winer is focused on disruptive innovation. Both are innovation, but it’s the disruptive innovations that really change the world.

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