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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Microsoft Secrets: How the World's Most Powerful Software Company Creates Technology, Shapes Markets and Manages People Paperback – December 4, 1998


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Microsoft Secrets: How the World's Most Powerful Software Company Creates Technology, Shapes Markets and Manages People + The Business of Software: What Every Manager, Programmer, and Entrepreneur Must Know to Thrive and Survive in Good Times and Bad
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (December 4, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684855313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684855318
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,426,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is a "facts ma'am, nothing but the facts" examination of how Microsoft works, both internally, and in the marketplace. Unlike the raft of gossipy Bill-bios or sardonic and shrill pro- or anti-screeds, this book is focused clearly (if sometimes ploddingly) on one central question: the relationship between business strategies and software development. And, as Microsoft becomes increasingly focused on the Internet, it is essential reading not just for software companies, but for all Internet companies as well. Highly Recommended. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The authors of this surprisingly candid report interviewed 38 Microsoft employees, including chairman and CEO Bill Gates, other top executives, middle managers and software developers, and they were also given access to internal documents and project data. They provide a detailed look at how the software giant develops new products, competes and strives to improve its operations. Seven key strategies central to Microsoft's approach are identified, among them: continually improve products incrementally, with direct input from customers during the development process; organize small teams of overlapping specialists who formally share tasks; aggressively target emerging mass markets. Microsoft has retained much of its loosely structured, small-team culture, and this study helps to explain how the company is able to do so while designing and manufacturing tremendously complicated products. Although some chapters are targeted to people familiar with personal computer software, this pragmatic handbook provides instructive lessons for firms and managers in many industries. Cusumano teaches management of technology at MIT; Selby teaches information and computer science at UC-Irvine. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Michael A. Cusumano is the Sloan Management Review Distinguished Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, with a joint appointment in MIT's Engineering Systems Division. His research focuses on technology management and strategy, especially in the software business. He received an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in production and operations management at the Harvard Business School. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and a Japan Foundation Fellow at the University of Tokyo. In 2009, he delivered the 13th annual Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies at Oxford University and was named one of the most influential people in technology and IT by Silicon.com. Professor Cusumano is a director of a leading Indian IT services company, Patni Computer Systems (NYSE: PTI, www.patni.com), and of an interactive voice communications provider, Eliza Corporation (www.elizacorporation.com). He is also an advisor to FixStars Corp. (www.fixstars.com), which builds high-performance computing applications for clusters of Sony Playstation consoles and other multi-core processor blade servers; and Buzzient (www.buzzient.com), a social media analytics and integration firm. He is the author or co-author of 8 books, including The Business of Software (2004), Platform Leadership (2002), Competing on Internet Time (1998), and Microsoft Secrets (1995).

Customer Reviews

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And, between the books I've read about this subject this is absolutely the best.
A Customer
The author doesn't cover business tactics and market strategies even when addressing the company's future.
darkguardian2
One of the most dangerous and damaging things to a company, and any organization, are "yes men."
K. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The authors definitely did a fine work by doing excellent research about Microsoft's product development and marketing. This book would prove to be very helpful to those who are coming from a non-technical perspective. It occasionally offers some valuable insights into Microsoft's strategies but it is quite dry for the most part even for a person who has plenty experiences in software development. The Microsoft 'secrets' are not exactly impressive. It would be impossible to know the true secret in a book, otherwise every software company would become a Microsoft (then again, not every company wants to). The book is a bit dated, but nevertheless offers the curious reader some insights into the development and marketing of Microsoft's past successful (and unsuccessful) moves. This book made Microsoft seems to be more fallible than its invincible image of every day praise.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1997
Format: Hardcover
You have to admit: you can adore them or you can hate them, but if your work is related to the IT you should care about Microsofties. They shape our lives each day, with their software, their operating systems and their languages and so you should know about them. And, between the books I've read about this subject this is absolutely the best. Well written, informative and not too caring about pleasing Microsoft (as other books, from people working for MS, could be).
Beside the inside stuff (really useful, for example, if you plan to do a job interview with Microsoft) a lot of the technologies explained in the book for dealing with people, sofware development and organization could be adopted to your way of work, also if you're not Bill (but maybe you're planning to become one!).

Highly recommended
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By K. Johnson VINE VOICE on December 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The Good
Where do most of the worst business people come from? M.B.A. schools usually. Students with strong academic skills with the honored M.B.A. can do the accounting, statistical work, and market research analysis. But does that mean they have a "business mind," or good "business sense?" Absolutely not. (That's why a new test is being devised to determine the "common sense" abilities of MBAs). Gates is a perfect example of the many successful business people who didn't spend time in front of Ph.ds in ivory towers regurgitating "business theories and paradigms."
A look into the technological and mainly business side of Microsoft, the author breaks down the organization into the "how's, why's, and what's" of MSFT.
It's common knowledge that Gates is a genius in the technical realm, and MSFT is a behemoth organization that has the majority of market share. But how did Microsoft grow to where it is and thrive in this ever-changing and competitive industry? This book explains the business (more than technical) philosophy, model, and actual examples from products and projects. Interviews with former and current managers and employees are also included.
Again, it's common knowledge that Gates is exceptional at business. Ask their competitors. Note that Steve Jobs had a better product that was on the market earlier but he lacked the business, marketing, and management acumen. Gates not only seeks out brilliant techno minds but considers their business sense equally important, and this is heavily weighed when he decides to hire prospective candidates. Those hired are also individualists who will challenge him and other superiors, and argue and debate with him, in the search for the best idea or model.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 24, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Microsoft Secrets takes an in-depth look into the company's management model, it's hierarchical structure, organizational culture and policies for development, HR, and more. May be Microsoft's management model cannot be used in most of industries , but this doesn't make this book less useful, since this book is full of interesting insights about the software company, which remains agile despite its size.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Heiser on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Fascinating detailed account of how the most significant firm in the industry makes product and marketing decisions. Cusumano and Selby were given unprecedented access to Microsoft staff at all levels of the firm.
This text is most interesting to high-tech weenies who want to understand how Microsoft organizes its product development and market introduction. Like IBM, Microsoft feels that a market leader is obligated to create its own language. If you want to know the difference between a MSFT Program Manager and a MSFT Product Manager, get this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rodger C. Blair on May 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the book. It explained the Microsoft approach to maketing, sales and engineering of their products and services. The Authors apparently really captured the essence of the "Microsoft Way" by their presence in the Microsoft environment.

On the positive side, the Authors really went into considerable detail about how Microsoft approaches the marketing, sales and engineering of its products and services. As a software professional, I was particularly interested in the description of the Microsoft software engineering process and launch of its software products.

On the negative side, the Microsoft approach to building software was predated by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) by 10 years. The Authors made no comparison of the Microsoft engineering practices with those of other, successful software engineering organizations. Having worked at DEC from 1973 to 1985, I would say that 80% to 90% of the software engineering processes and practices described in the book were performed as common, engineering best practices by those DEC software projects that built the VMS operating system and its layered products including VAX Fortran, Vax Cobol, VAX Ada, etc. The book did not explicitly state by I venture that Dave Cutler, Senior Technical Fellow at Microsoft, may be responsible for porting these engineering best practices from DEC to Microsoft when he joined Microsoft in 1988. Dave is a first class software professional, a very gifted software engineer and manager - maybe one of the best in software engineering!!

Bottom-Line: I highly recommend the book for reading by software professionals including software managers, software engineers, marketers and sales professionals. It is an excellent book. My major criticism of the book is that it needs to be updated to reflect current best practices at Microsoft. [Note: I was the VAX COBOL Project Leader from 1978 to 1982.]
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