Burning the Ships. Transforming Your Company's Culture Through Intellectual Property Strategy

  • ID: 2325572
  • Book
  • 208 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Praise for Burning the Ships: Intellectual Property and the Transformation of Microsoft

"Told with a litigator′s attention to detail, Burning the Ships recounts the journey that forced Microsoft to face its own ′succeed or die′ moment. It′s a powerful high–stakes lesson in strategy and survival that speaks volumes to business leaders of all stripes about the courage required to embrace radical business transformation."
William J. Amelio, President and CEO, Lenovo

"Intellectual property does not show up on your balance sheet, and your board of directors would not recognize it if it were set out on a table in the lobby. But do not kid yourself: in an era of ever–commoditizing supply and distribution, IP is the essential fabric out of which your competitive advantage will be fashioned. Burning the Ships gives you an insider′s look into how this engine of economic returns operates and what you can do to maintain it."
Geoffrey A. Moore, author, Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin

"It would be difficult to overestimate the influence that Marshall Phelps has had on corporate thinking in regard to intellectual property. Simply put, he is the one we look to for guidance in such matters. Burning the Ships will be widely read in Japan and Europe as well as America."
Michio Naruto, former vice chairman, Fujitsu Corporation

"Phelps and Kline offer us a first look at tomorrow′s business strategy, which of necessity involves the collaborative use of intellectual property. Don′t miss out on the chance to see what future business leaders will be thinking about."
Nathan Myhrvold, CEO, Intellectual Ventures

"Academics have spilled a good deal of ink over the past fifteen years on the question of how intellectual property can be deployed to enhance innovation and enterprise success. Finally we′re getting the skinny on this vital issue—not just from someone who′s been in the trenches, but from Marshall Phelps himself, the man who revolutionized and set the standard for the management of intellectual property across the whole information technology sector."
Wesley Marc Cohen, PhD, Frederick C. Joerg Professor of Business Administration, Professor of Strategy, Economics, and Management, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

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About the Authors.



Chapter 1 The Collaboration Imperative.

Chapter 2 Like Cortez Burning His Ships.

Chapter 3 Money Isn’t Money Anymore.

Chapter 4 A Very Secret Mission.

Chapter 5 Leadership Starts at the Top.

Chapter 6 The Road Ahead (with Apologies to Bill Gates).


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"This is a book as much about teams and organizations managing conflict brought on by significant change as it is about intellectual property (IP). Intertwined throughout a series of engaging and personal stories – showing how Microsoft instituted a strategic personality makeover from a monopolisitc bully to a respected collaborative partner – are lessons that every business person can use in building and implementing diverse teams to meet clear strategic objectives.Anyone who invests the short time to indulge the personal stories of this book will come away with a renewed sense of commitment to implementing fully cross–functional teams, as Phelps clearly shows as a key element to the successful transformation of a software powerhouse "going it alone" to spurring innovation and economic progress benefitting all of society." (Journal of Product Innovation Management, 2010; 27)

"Phelps (corporate vice president for intellectual property policy & strategy, Microsoft) and journalist Kline (Rembrandts in the Attic) have written a brisk and engaging book about Microsoft′s radical overhauling of its intellectual property (IP) strategy. Phelps, the principal architect of this new strategy, gives the reader an insider′s perspective on his struggle to overcome Microsoft′s traditional use of its intellectual property as a "weapon" against competitors and to transform the company into a key player in the new business environment of "open innovation….the book is worth reading for its portrait of a major corporation undergoing massive change and for its lucid explanations of IP business strategy. Recommended for serious business readers." (Library Journal, July 15, 2009)

"Could Microsoft’s ability to produce intellectual property be the company’s future salvation? A few weeks ago, I complained that Microsoft wasn’t innovating. Yet the book Burning the Ships talks of Microsoft’s burgeoning intellectual property treasure chest. Burning the Ships shows the way to another outlet for Microsoft’s innovation. Instead of trying to hold their intellectual property close to the vest, Microsoft is beginning to open up the IP treasure chest and let others try to do the work of bringing those products to market." (InformationWeek, June 1, 2009)

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