CES is firmly a consumer show but consumer trends often offer hints about the future of technology in the enterprise.
Amazon, apparently, is still smarting over that New York Times story that depicted the company's "bruising" corporate culture as one with little regard for the people actually working there. On Monday, Jay Carney, senior vice president for global corporate affairs at Amazon, took to Medium with a defense of the company. He's got one important nugget but the rest of his piece reads like a weak response from a bully who's been called out.
While the big names of EMC and VMware may have justified the $67 billion price tag on Dell's acquisition of the companies, it's the smaller businesses of the EMC federation that have the real promise.
It's taken quite a long time, but it seems that Microsoft's hardware strategy is working.
VMware's Pat Gelsinger argues that work-life balance happens only when both the employer and the employee buy into achieving such balance. While he's right that employees have to make an effort, he omits the part that the whole thing falls apart if the employer doesn't support it. Amazon has shown exactly how that works.
It's been a week and a half since the damning New York Times article came out about the corporate culture at Amazon and horror stories continue to come out of the woodwork. Today's comes from a high-level editor who said she was treated terribly after taking health leave – to have a baby and then fight cancer. Her story seems to back up allegations in the New York Times story that Amazon workers sometimes get "edged out" after fighting illnesses or personal crises.
The report that ran in The New York Times over the weekend about the corporate culture at Amazon and the subsequent discussion – including comments by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – show just how hard it can be for founders to control and even understand the culture at companies they start. It's a lesson that founders and executives should take to heart since with some work it can be avoided.
On Monday, Google founder Larry Page announced that he and co-founder Sergey Brin were going to head a new company, called Alphabet, handing day-to-day control of Google to Sundar Pichai, who has taken on more and more responsibility at Google over the past couple of years. It's a huge structural change but one that's unlikely to have a significant impact on enterprise users of Google products and services.
With updates to the Web access to Outlook that Microsoft announced Tuesday, the company adds features that aren't available in the desktop version and raises questions, at least in my mind, about the point of both versions.
CIOs are used to being told they have to make special allowances for the millennials workers in their midst. The better approach is to let the needs of millennials help establish a culture that provides flexiblity, support and engagement for all workers in the group.