We've talked numerous times about Microsoft's apparently inability -- particularly with Windows Mobile -- to integrate what by themselves may be outstanding services. WinMo and Zune haven't played together (though we know that's changing). It's SkyDrive and Live Mesh services overlap but for the most part have nothing to do with each other, and they certainly don't integrate. The list goes on.
And that was one of the bigger criticisms we heard during the recent third annual Smartphone Round Robin, as we highlighted in our wrap-up. But you don't have to take our word for it. Former Microsoft vice president Dick Brass, who was with Microsoft from 1997 to 2004, explains things in today's Op-Ed section of the New York Times. An excerpt:
Internal competition is common at great companies. It can be wisely encouraged to force ideas to compete. The problem comes when the competition becomes uncontrolled and destructive. At Microsoft, it has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which the big established groups are allowed to prey upon emerging teams, belittle their efforts, compete unfairly against them for resources, and over time hector them out of existence.
Ouch. We can only hope that things have begun to turn around. [Microsoft's Creative Destruction]
Update: Microsoft responds here to Brass' column.