When Bill Gates promoted Steve Ballmer to the chief executive position at Microsoft over ten years ago, the company was flying high in terms of investor perceptions and had a cutting edge image placing it at the forefront of America’s high tech boom. Despite initial setbacks during the mid 1990s related to understanding the transformative power of the internet, Microsoft quickly recovered and expectations for the company’s future were very high in early 2000. Fast forward one decade: Today, Microsoft is perceived as a stodgy company that may still generate a great deal of cash but is hopelessly behind the technology curve and may be destined for inevitable decline. Is this a fair portrayal and, if so, to what extent is Mr. Ballmer to blame? Read this article for an opinion.
The Financial Times published a special report today (also available as a pdf file) that attempts to quantify brand value for the top 100 global brands. The top global brand remains Google followed by IBM, Apple, and Microsoft. Coca Cola, McDonalds, and Marlboro are familiar consumer products brands that appear in the top 10 list. The survey was developed by BrandZ and is based on quantitative consumer research and financial analysis. Read this article for more details.
Richard L. Brandt’s latest book, Inside Larry & Sergey’s Brain, presents a portrait of Larry Page and Sergey Brin that helps the reader understand what may have motivated the company to initially enter China by accepting some level of censorship. Although the book was published prior to Google’s recent announcement, we can draw some important insights regarding the way Google’s founders think about the issue of doing business in China. Perhaps more importantly, the book also allows the reader to glimpse into the psyche of the founders and draw some conclusions regarding entrepreneurship in general. For anyone investing in early stage companies, the insights are invaluable. Read this article for a review of the book.