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February 9, 2010 at 3:59 PM

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Microsoft's missteps

Posted by Letters editor

Take hint from ‘Undercover Boss’

The recent commentary by former Microsoft Executive Dick Brass regarding Microsoft’s loss of any innovative edge and the rebuttal by Frank Shaw, corporate vice president for corporate communications [“Microsoft’s creative destruction” and “Microsoft: A good idea isn’t enough,” Business, Feb. 8], was eerily reminiscent of Dilbert — a regular feature I read in the comics section of the paper.

On the one hand, we have a logical reconstruction of Microsoft’s miscues, articulated by a company insider with a credible perspective on the issues under discussion. On the other hand, we have a corporate executive striving to characterize the color black as actually only a misrepresentation of a slightly shaded color white.

Following the Super Bowl, I watched the new reality series “Undercover Boss.” In a nutshell, the boss discovers that life in the real world of his company is distinctly different from that perceived in the executive hallways. What an innovative observation, right?

Seeing yet another real-world example of the enormous disconnect between the reality of what most in the working-world experience and the bubble framing the executive’s world view — as apparently also exists at Microsoft — suggests that perhaps [Microsoft CEO] Steve Ballmer should go undercover and get a clue.

— Patrick Schrote, Seattle

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