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New Book Exposes Internal Upheaval at Microsoft
[March 30, 2009]

New Book Exposes Internal Upheaval at Microsoft

Hoboken, NJ, Mar 30, 2009 ( via COMTEX) -- An electrifying new book -- BURNING THE SHIPS: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF MICROSOFT -- reveals for the first time, the dramatic inside story of Microsoft's struggle to transform itself from an adjudicated monopolist into a more collaborative industry player.

Written by top Microsoft executive Marshall Phelps and journalist and best-selling author David Kline, BURNING THE SHIPS (John Wiley & Sons, $29.95, April 6, 2009) is hardly an "authorized" corporate biography. Rather, it offers readers an uncensored inside account of how the world's largest software company, beset on all sides by anti-trust suits and costly litigation earlier this decade, carried out a sweeping overhaul of its strategy and business practices in order to repair its relations with the industry and better position itself to succeed in today's new "open innovation" environment, where collaboration and cooperation between firms, rather than market conquest, have become the keys to success.

A "thoroughly entertaining 'can't wait to get to the next page' read," according to one reviewer, BURNING THE SHIPS, documents the internal upheaval at Microsoft as Bill Gates and other top executives - and rank-and-file employees as well -- struggled to overcome old monopolistic habits and engineer what one analyst has called "the greatest transformation Microsoft has undergone since it became a multinational company." The book reveals: The top-to-bottom struggle within Microsoft to overcome its traditional "fortress mentality" approach of jealously guarding its technology and build channels of collaboration with other firms instead.

The internal debates among top executives over how to deal with the open source software movement -- including the first-ever blow-by-blow account of the top-secret negotiations with Novell that led to the world's first peace treaty and collaboration agreement between a proprietary and open source software company.

How Microsoft recognized that even with the largest R&D budget in the world, it could never gain a seat at the table of many of today's new business opportunities unless it also started to team up with innovative young startup companies around the world.

How the company started using its patents and other intellectual property (IP) not as competitive weapons but rather as the scaffolding for collaboration deals with more than 500 other companies worldwide.

BURNING THE SHIPS is a fascinating and illuminating read for business leaders and other senior managers, entrepreneurs, IP professionals, researchers and investors.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: MARSHALL PHELPS is Microsoft Corporation's Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for intellectual property, supervising all of the company's intellectual property groups, including those responsible for trademarks, trade secrets, patents, licensing, standards and copyrights. He's been called the "godfather" of corporate intellectual property strategy and the "alchemist of New Economy wealth creation" for his skill at turning patents into gold. Marshall Phelps is universally recognized as the world's leading guru in the use of intellectual property to enhance enterprise success.

DAVID KLINE is a journalist, author and intellectual property consultant who has covered some of the world's most dramatic stories for the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, NBC and CBS News, the Atlantic, Rolling Stone, People, Wired and other major media. A highly-regarded business writer, Kline's best-selling "Rembrandts in the Attic" from Harvard Business School Press is considered the seminal work in the field of intellectual property strategy within corporate America.

BURNING THE SHIPS Intellectual Property and the Transformation of Microsoft Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

$29.95; Hardcover; 208 pages; ISBN: 978-0-470-43215-0 ### Read the full story at

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