《经济学人》:微软,中年忧郁症
日期:2011-06-23 10:55

(单词翻译:单击)

Microsoft

微软

Middle-aged blues

中年忧郁症

The software giant is grappling with a mid-life crisis

软件巨头微软正在中年危机中挣扎

Jun 9th 2011 | SAN FRANCISCO | from The Economist print edition

COMPARED with IBM, Microsoft is a mere stripling. Founded in 1975, it rose swiftly to dominate the world of personal computing with its Windows operating system and Office suite of word-processing and other productivity tools. But the company is now showing some worrying signs of middle-age fatigue. In particular, it is struggling to find a growth strategy that will enthuse disgruntled shareholders.

与IBM相比,微软还只是个年轻人。成立于1975年的微软因其Windows操作系统和包括文字处理及其他生产工具的Office系列迅速崛起并主导个人电脑世界。但是该公司如今呈现出一些人到中年疲惫了的迹象,引人担忧。特别是,它正努力寻找一种可以激发不满的股东们热情的增长策略。

Grumbles are understandable. Since Steve Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as chief executive in 2000, Microsoft’s share price has languished and the company has lost its reputation as a tech trend-setter. It has been left behind in hot areas such as search and social networking by younger companies, some of which love to thumb their noses at their older rival. Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, recently proclaimed that leadership in the tech world had passed from Microsoft and others to a “Gang of Four” fast-growing, consumer-oriented businesses: Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook.

抱怨是可以理解的。自从2000年史蒂夫??鲍尔默(Steve Ballmer)从比尔??盖茨手中接掌微软总裁一职以后,微软的股价就一蹶不振,公司也失去了作为科技弄潮儿的声誉。在诸如搜索和社交网络等热门领域中,它被年轻一代的公司甩在了后面,这些公司中的有一些热衷于嘲笑这位年纪大的对手。谷歌的执行主席埃里克??施密特(Eric Schmidt)最近宣称科技世界的领导力量已经从微软和其他公司传递到一个发展迅速、以消费者为导向的“四人组”公司手中:谷歌,苹果,亚马逊和脸谱网。

Few would quibble with that. The question is: what, if anything, can Microsoft do to change it? In at least some respects, the company appears to be suffering from similar ailments to those that laid IBM low before Lou Gerstner was hired in 1993 to get it back on its feet. These include arrogance bred of dominance of a particular area—mainframe computers at IBM, personal computers at Microsoft—and internal fiefs that hamper swift change. For instance, the division that champions cloud computing must deal with one that is the cheerleader for Windows, which is likely to want computing to stay on desktops for as long as possible to maximise its own revenues.

几乎没人会对这个观点吹毛求疵。问题是:微软能做些什么来改变它呢?至少在某些方面,该公司看起来罹患一些疾病,类似的疾病曾击倒IBM,直到1993年路易??郭士纳(Lou Gerstner):上任才使其重新恢复元气。它们包括因为控制某一领域而滋生的骄傲自大——于IBM是大型计算机,于微软则是个人电脑——以及阻碍迅速转变的公司内部的各个阵营。比如,支持云计算的部门必须应对Windows系统的支持者,后者可能希望计算在台式电脑上停留越长越好,以便获得最多的收入。

As IBM’s experience shows, rejuvenation in the tech world is possible. And some observers see encouraging glimmers of progress at Microsoft. Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester, a research firm, reckons that Windows 8, a forthcoming version of Microsoft’s operating system, could be a serious competitor to Google’s Android on tablet computers if the company can get it to market next year. Microsoft is also in far better shape financially than IBM was at its nadir, so it can afford to splash out on acquisitions such as its recent $8.5 billion purchase of Skype, an internet-phone and video-calling service.

IBM的经验证明,在科技世界重新焕发青春是可能的。一些观察者在微软身上看到了些许鼓舞人心的进步。市场研究Forrester公司的莎拉??罗特曼??埃普斯(Sarah Rotman Epps)认为如果微软能让接下来的新操作系统Windows8在明年上市,那么它很可能在平板电脑领域与谷歌的安卓系统一决高。与IBM出于最低点时的金融构架相比,微软的要好得多,所以它才可以花大价钱进行收购,比如最近它用85亿美元收购了网络电话及视频服务提供商Skype公司。

That bet and an alliance with Nokia in mobile phones (putting the phone version of Windows into the big but troubled Finnish firm’s devices) show that Microsoft is trying to bulk up in promising areas. Yet sceptics worry that such initiatives are not the product of an overarching strategic vision, but are instead tactical moves designed to placate critics who fear Microsoft is drifting downwards. David Einhorn, a prominent hedge-fund manager whose fund holds shares in Microsoft, has publicly called for a change at the top of the firm, arguing that Mr Ballmer is “stuck in the past”. So far, the company’s board, chaired by Mr Gates, has backed its chief executive. But if IBM’s history is a guide, Microsoft may yet end up jettisoning its leader.

这笔赌注再加上在移动电话领域同诺基亚合作(把Windows的手机版本装进诺基亚手机,诺基亚这家规模很大的芬兰公司也遭遇困难)证明微软正力图在有前途的领域积累力量。但是怀疑者担心这种举动不是出于一个总体的战略,而是为了抚慰担心微软正走下坡路的批评者的巧妙举措。颇有影响力的对冲基金经理人大卫??埃因霍温(David Einhorn)公开呼吁微软上层改朝换代,称鲍尔温先生“固步自封”,埃因霍温先生的基金拥有微软的股份。到目前为止,由盖茨先生任主席的董事会仍支持他们的总裁。但若以IBM的历史为鉴,那么微软也许最终仍然会抛弃它的领导者。

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重点单词
  • fatiguen. 疲乏,疲劳,累活 adj. 疲劳的 vt. 使 .
  • productivityn. 生产率,生产能力
  • bulkn. 体积,容积,大批,大块,大部分 vt. 使成堆,使
  • tacticaladj. 战术上的,战术性的,足智多谋的
  • troubledadj. 动乱的,不安的;混乱的;困惑的
  • hampern. 大篮子 vt. 阻止,妨碍
  • socialadj. 社会的,社交的 n. 社交聚会
  • prominentadj. 杰出的,显著的,突出的
  • strategicadj. 战略的,重要的,基本的
  • placatevt. 抚慰,和解