"Phelps (corporate vice president for intellectual property policy & strategy, Microsoft) and journalist Kline (Rembrandts in the Attic) have written a brisk and engaging book about Microsoft's radical overhauling of its intellectual property (IP) strategy. Phelps, the principal architect of this new strategy, gives the reader an insider's perspective on his struggle to overcome Microsoft's traditional use of its intellectual property as a "weapon" against competitors and to transform the company into a key player in the new business environment of "open innovation….the book is worth reading for its portrait of a major corporation undergoing massive change and for its lucid explanations of IP business strategy. Recommended for serious business readers." (Library Journal, July 15, 2009)
"Could Microsoft’s ability to produce intellectual property be the company’s future salvation? A few weeks ago, I complained that Microsoft wasn’t innovating. Yet the book Burning the Ships talks of Microsoft’s burgeoning intellectual property treasure chest. Burning the Ships shows the way to another outlet for Microsoft’s innovation. Instead of trying to hold their intellectual property close to the vest, Microsoft is beginning to open up the IP treasure chest and let others try to do the work of bringing those products to market." (InformationWeek, June 1, 2009)
"Intellectual property does not show up on your balance sheet, and your board of directors would not recognize it if it were set out on a table in the lobby. But do not kid yourself: in an era of ever-commoditizing supply and distribution, IP is the essential fabric out of which your competitive advantage will be fashioned. Burning the Ships gives you an insider's look into how this engine of economic returns operates and what you can do to maintain it."
–Geoffrey A. Moore, author, Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin
"[There are] many interesting tales in Burning the Ships, a new book that traces Microsoft's moves from intellectual property novice to patent powerhouse. [It reveals how] the company set upon a new course with regard to intellectual property, making peace with longtime enemies, creating a business around its underused technology, and seeking to strike broad cross-licensing deals with nearly everyone in the industry."
–Ina Fried, CNET News.com
"A good case study of how Microsoft reinvented itself and began leveraging its Intellectual Property for good (collaboration) instead of evil (punishment). I would encourage anyone working [in the technology field] to read it. I can easily see that this book will be required reading very shortly in most MBA programs."
–David Lane, Linux Journal
"Microsoft will always have its detractors -- all powerful and successful companies do -- and there is no doubt that it has thrown its weight around with great force on many occasions in the past. But for those prepared to look at the company with an open mind, this book is extremely revealing about why open source and collaboration have forced senior management to look again at its traditional ways of operating in order to embrace new business realities."
–Joff Wild, IAM Magazine
"Burning the Ships recounts Phelps’ behind-the-scenes account of how he overcame internal resistance and got Microsoft to embrace collaboration with other firms. There are plenty of lessons in this book for executives in every industry where accessing previously untapped intellectual property can open up new business opportunities."
–Stephen Albainy-Jenei, Patent Baristas
"This book describes a dramatic shift toward business openness and property ownership by a formerly closed, defensive company, resulting in enormous new value for the company."
–William New, Intellectual Property Watch
"The book provides a very interesting behind-the-scenes account of the transformation of Microsoft, as well as dealings with competitors during that time."
–Peter Zura, The 271 Patent Blog
"However technology evolves, IP strategies will have to evolve with it. This book is a chance to learn from one company's version of that evolution."
–Wendy Grossman, ZDNet Reviews
"We've been looking for some new paper to turn here at the Engadget HD offices, and it looks like Marshall Phelps' "Burning the Ships" may be our next purchase."
–Darren Murph, Endgadget
"Burning the Ships is a fascinating window into Microsoft's corporate conversion [away from] a "fortress mentality culture and go-it-alone market strategy." Collaboration and partnership are the new name of the game, and IP is the glue that seals such deals. Phelps and Kline offer plenty of behind-the-scenes accounts of strategy decisions and negotiations, and they're honest about how Microsoft was perceived in the market and about how difficult it was to adopt a new approach to competition. The writing is admirably clear."
–Nate Anderson, Ars Technica
In a sense the book is still being written (as the recent TomTom case attests), but this is a good book and recommended.
They shares interesting insight into the workings at Microsoft and their creative approach to solving a complex business challenge.
If you're looking for some self congratulatory drivel, then Burning the Ships is worth a read, otherwise I wouldn't bother.
Very easy read and informative on an era and the evolution of the corporate perspective and approach to Intellectual Property.Published 3 months ago by Francesco Auteri
I liked to see how IBM & Microsoft have found ways to create value using their IP, especially from Phelps stand point, given his experience and background.Published 8 months ago by Mercille Pierre-Luc
If you want to get a view on the why and the how of the new Microsoft, this is definitely a book you should read. Read morePublished on July 15, 2009 by Ingmar Boon
Marshall Phelps has made billions of dollars for his employers and fundamentally changed the outlook of some very hard-faced businesses along the way. Read morePublished on June 25, 2009 by C. W. Beveridge
A useful insight into the role of IP in harnesing business value for organisations. A must read for anyone interested in IP.Published on June 15, 2009 by Shanika
This should have been a great book, it has all the basic ingredients - an interesting topic that anyone leading a modern business needs to be aware of; written by one of the very... Read morePublished on June 14, 2009 by John Clavin
Phelps & Kline take the complexity of Intellectual Property and Business Strategy and created a really enjoyable and informative book. Read morePublished on May 12, 2009 by Thomas DeChiaro
A great look into how real people inside a big company like Microsoft struggled to change the company 's direction -- and used intellectual property to do it.Published on April 13, 2009 by Judith Berck