makes house-call to computer giant
legendary entrepreneurs like Bill Gates can use some outside
expertise to keep Microsoft humming. For half a decade, Kellogg
professors have helped the software company remain innovative
thanks to custom executive offerings delivered directly to
the client's door
is very visible at Microsoft, says McCormick Tribune Professor
of Technology Mohanbir
means that literally. Rather than teach a few of Microsoft's
senior executives at the Kellogg School's James L. Allen Center,
Sawhney has helped bring a piece of the school's expertise
work very closely with them and spend a lot of time understanding
their business to develop a series of really customized programs
that we deliver on site," says Sawhney, who also directs
the Kellogg School's Center
for Research on Technology and Innovation and its Technology
Industry Management Program. "After five years of
this partnership, Kellogg has had a significant impact on
Microsoft's marketing strategy."
adds, "It's been a fascinating experience for us."
And the balanced approach that brings theoretical structure
to solve practical problems has been a boon for Microsoft.
team helps Microsoft sell itself to its increasingly savvy
and demanding technology consumers, including those who have
recently warmed to free Web-based applications and downloadable
open-source software. Sawhney says that while such software
is "a huge threat to Microsoft's business," the
company will adapt.
have to find ways to work with this open-source software,
he says, pointing out that even Linux — a popular open-source
operating system designed as an alternative to Windows and
Mac OS — is not quite free to the average computer user.
That person will likely need help installing and running it.
"Linux is like IKEA furniture," says the Kellogg
professor. "Some assembly required."
for Microsoft, he says, will be determining where it can offer
the greatest value. Even if the company doesn't nail its strategy
on the first try, Sawhney says that Microsoft will keep working
until they refine their efforts.
underestimate Microsoft," he says. "They are relentless." — AH
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