theodp writes "In the provocatively titled Microsoft's Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant, Vanity Fair offers a teaser for a story that will appear in its August issue on Microsoft's Lost Decade, which promises an unprecedented view of life inside Microsoft during the reign of Steve Ballmer. 'Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed — every one — cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,' contributing editor Karl Eichenwald writes. 'If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,' says a former software developer. 'It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.' Also discussed is the company's loyalty to Windows and Office, which induced a myopia that repeatedly kept Microsoft from jumping on emerging technologies like e-readers and other technology that was effective for consumers. Having seen an advance copy of the full piece, GeekWire offers its take on what it calls an 'epic, accurate and not entirely fair' tale."
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