Directions on Microsoft: Matt Rosoff moves on

If you’ve ever been to Microsoft, the lobby of most if not all of the buildings on campus contain some nice artwork, some comfortable chairs and couches, and a stack of copies of Directions on Microsoft.  The “independent IT analyst firm devoted exclusively to Microsoft technology and business strategy” produces a newsletter and an org chart that are invaluable to those dealing with Microsoft.

Matt Rosoff has been an instrumental part of Directions on Microsoft for 10 years.  If you’ve read anything about Microsoft in almost any newspaper, blog, or magazine, you’ve seen Matt’s name pop up as an authoritative voice on what’s happening in Redmond.   Today, in a blog post on his personal blog, he announced he was leaving to join Silicon Alley Insider as West Coast Editor, continuing to focus on, and write about, Microsoft.

What’s interesting about Matt’s blog post is he highlights some of the struggles Microsoft has had in the consumer space, which continue to this day.  Matt says, after describing a tongue-lashing he received from a Microsoft employee in response to some comments he made about Microsoft’s consumer strategy:

A year later, Belluzzo was gone, this gentleman had moved to a new role in a completely different part of the company, and the conversation was forgotten. Ten years later, Microsoft still can’t explain its consumer strategy.

Indeed, just weeks ago, it was revealed that Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, didn’t receive his full bonus partly due to Microsoft’s failings with Kin, and with the consumer and mobile space.

Matt goes on to detail the changes at Microsoft since he began at Directions, 10 years ago:

I’ve seen a lot of changes at Microsoft as well. The old arrogance is mostly gone, although it lives on in pockets. One tends to be humbled after ten years of antitrust litigation, product stumbles, and losing markets that you saw first (smartphones, tablet PCs, and even search; go back and read Bill Gates’s Internet Tidal Wave memo from 1995 and look at point number 5 for the Windows group). The company has more than doubled in size. The complaints about bureaucracy and endless meetings have become so common, they’re no longer noteworthy. Gates barely checks in these days. “Bet the company” initiatives like .NET, HailStorm, Microsoft Business Solutions, and online advertising have passed into the memory banks. It’s not even the biggest tech company in the world anymore by market cap, although it’s still the most profitable.

Of course we are pretty interested in Microsoft’s future in the consumer space.  We happen to think that for all the problems (and there have been, and are, many), some good things are going to start to happen for Microsoft, starting with Windows Phone.

We wish Matt all the best at his new role at SAI, and can’t wait to see where his new direction takes him.  Good luck, Matt!