Innovation for Innovation Sake

I talk alot about innovation.  It takes a lot to be innovative, and I congratulate all those people and companies who continue to innovate in ways that make our lives easier every day.  But sometimes, and its rare, you have to be wary of the innovation for innovation’s sake mentality.

When bigger companies try to change the way they do things, sometimes they abandon the very customers that they are trying to help.  This is a common problem in large companies that are trying to release new products or services.  One example is Microsoft with the release of the Vista operating system.

First, I have to commend a company like Microsoft for continuing to change things in a market that they have dominated for years now.  But Vista was an innovation that should never have made it to the public.  It takes a certain amount of control and foresight to see when something is not going to work, and with Vista, I strongly believe that someone should have seen the direction it was heading and called it off.

The goal of Vista, as I see it, was to make an operating system built around the company’s strengths that is more user friendly and as close to an Apple product as Microsoft has ever come.  They wanted to please everyone at once to try to hault the sudden growth in popularity of Macs.  However, in doing this, they left their strongest and most loyal customers high and dry.

Microsoft has always catered to big businesses.  The biggest market for Microsoft products are large companies that continue to use updated Microsoft products within their organization.  However, Vista does not address the very things that businesses want.  In fact, it would not make sense for any company running Windows XP to switch to Vista, even without all the complex errors that come with it.

Microsoft abandoned their core market by trying to do something that was very different than what had worked for them in the past.  A company like Microsoft, facing new, feircer competition has to do something different.  But, changing their core product to the point that it is unrecognizable is not the kind of innovation that they should aim for.

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