Single Era Conjecture?

There was an interesting article on the Sunday times about the Single Era Conjecture, which is how they call the invisible law that makes it impossible for a technology company to maintain its leadership through a major paradigm shift. The article gives examples of companies that have tried and failed (i.e. IBM) and focuses on how Microsoft struggles to "sustain in the Internet era what they attained in the personal computing era". There were some interesting facts there that I wasn't aware of. Like the 1995 internal memo "the Internet wave" where Bill Gates alerted company employees that Internet was meant to be a disruptive force. It's fascinating to see how the company has failed to address this major trend, although they have been aware of its importance for over a decade.

Is it a matter of poor management and lack of leadership? Or is it just the fact that as NY Times suggests, this is an invisible law and Mother Nature simply won't permit it? If this is the case, Google will fail too, soon and actually there is a lot of evidence suggesting that this is probably going to be the case (key employees leaving the company, changing culture etc)

Either way, I find it very difficult to believe in invisible laws of Mother Nature. Human beings have managed to change and overcome so many of them in areas that I find much more challenging. So check the video below:




What do you think? I personally find this parody video extremely accurate of Microsoft's reality. So I am asking you: Is this Mather Nature or just a huge company shooting itself on the foot? I mean there are things that are hard to change and maybe re-writing Windows is one of them. (I wouldn't know since I am not a hacker, but its a very controversial subject anyway after Vista failed). And then, there are things that can be easily changed, like design. I am not suggesting cutting edge here. Just avoid ridiculous for now. But then this suggests that Leadership gets it. Do they?

In the video above Steve Ballmer (current CEO and the 15th employee who joined the company) concludes breathless: "I have four words for you: I love this company". Of course he does. But then again, everybody else doesn't love Microsoft anymore and I don't think it's because of Mother Nature. I think this is a challenge of culture and leadership. Microsoft has done such a lousy job adjusting, so even when they do innovate, people won't take them seriously anymore.