Microsoft at 30

This morning’s Observer column.

Microsoft has grown up, and is beginning to experience the mixed blessings of corporate middle age. On the one hand there is the respectability and status of being the most famous company in the world after Disney, and the complacency that comes from having $50 billion in the bank. On the other hand, there’s the furring of the corporate arteries, the slowing of reflexes and the dawning realisation that you are no longer the coolest kid on the block.

And, as if to confirm the suspicion of internal unease, this week also saw the announcement of massive restructuring of the company’s corporate structure. Its seven divisions will be merged into three groups – Platform Products and Services, (formerly Windows, MSN, and the Server and Tools division); Business (formerly Office and Microsoft Business Solutions); and Entertainment and Devices (formerly Xbox and mobile devices)…