Microsoft ponders cannibalism

This morning’s Observer column on Redmond’s half-assed foray into web services.

Some years ago Harvard academic Clayton Christensen wrote a riveting book entitled The Innovator’s Dilemma, which explored the question of why large, successful companies cannot cope with disruptive technologies. In it he shows that even well-managed firms with established products miss the next big wave in their industries unless their leaders know when to abandon their traditional business practices.

The first chapter in Professor Christensen’s book is entitled ‘How can great firms fail?’ Watching Gates & Co fudging the issue of web services on Tuesday suggested a simple answer: easily.