On Paring Back Clearance Lists for ID/IQ ContractsAt our inaugural Captains of Industry event last week, Excelis CEO Dave Melcher had a few sound ideas for the folks who run procurement policy at the Pentagon. I've been reading over those, and one which stood out concerned the Defense Department's current approach to indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contracts. I liked his complaint, and so wanted to add some thoughts and a few recommendations of my own.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his pending retirement back in August, and in the week thereafter, a slew of periodicals wrote about how his departure couldn't possibly be bad for the company. Perhaps most salient was Derek Thompson's face-punch in The Atlantic by the title "Why Steve Ballmer Failed." For the past ten years, he wrote, Microsoft's stock (NASDAQ:MSFT) "has functioned like a thermostat set to $25." The world had changed, most of the stories went, and despite some successes with XBoxes and server-side software, Microsoft had repeatedly missed opportunities to change ahead of it. Reaction, the company could manage, but buying most of Nokia would still bring it no iPhone, or even a Samsung Galaxy. As Christopher Mims at Quartz put it, Microsoft today remains a "pile of vaguely related businesses" without a clear vision for its future.