NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Technology has always been a young person's game. When I started covering technology, in 1982, so was leadership at Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report).
It was in that year, as a Microsoft corporate timeline
, that Jon Shirley was brought in from
-- Radio Shack! -- because Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer needed "adult supervision."
The entrepreneurs who created the dot-boom in the 1990s were also young men and women. So was Larry Page, throughout the last decade, while he and classmate Sergey Brin were building
(GOOG - Get Report)
Technology happens on campuses, and campuses are ruled by the young. The very best scientists make their great discoveries before they're 40, and it's a cliché that they then spend the rest of their careers teaching, coaching and managing their successors. It's mostly true.
Over the last few weeks I've written about
how much pressure Microsoft is under
with the launch of Windows 8, how
we should worry more about their aging leadership than about, say, Google.
Shareholders lost a reported $10 billion in equity Tuesday with the sudden resignation of Windows head Steven Sinofsky,
as reported by
The knives have since come out for him. He was supposedly after his boss's job,
. He's supposedly abrasive and off-putting,
The whole thing is adolescent, but getting closer to adolescence is what Microsoft most needs.
Sinofsky's replacements are two executives in their 40s, neither of whom started their careers at the company. Julie Larson-Green told Mary Jo Foley of
that she applied to Microsoft after college,
but was turned down
and worked at
until 1994. Tami Reller came to Microsoft with
Great Plains Software
and only moved to Redmond in 2006, according to a 2006 profile
Channel 9 site
Despite everything, Microsoft remains inventive. Microsoft recently demonstrated real-time, spoken-language translation a two-step process of first, turning speech into text, and then translating the text.
Microsoft often comes up with cool things like this. What it lacks -- what it
lacked since Windows 95 -- is a strategist who can turn what comes out of the lab into products people will demand.
A good example is the company's Kinect interface. It's not just a way to play games with gestures. It's a transformative technology, as
, something that gives robots a way to interface with the world, and something that could
Technology Review notes
, launch a host of start-ups.