Friday, July 6, 2012

Microsoft vs Amgen Essay

Microsoft vs Amgen Essay

Microsoft's Timeline
Microsoft was established by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975 and was located in Bellevue, Washington by January 1979. Although the company started out writing “BASIC” interpreters and simulators, Microsoft progressed to the OS business in 1980. After Microsoft's competitor IBM released the IBM PC in 1981 Microsoft knew that it had to stay competitive in the industry, and what better way to do that than spreading into new markets. Thus, there was the creation of the “Microsoft Mouse” as well as a publishing branch of the company dubbed “Microsoft Press”.

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The company's history from 1985 to 1994 was pivotal and solidified it in the industry and caused it to be the Goliath that it is today. In November 20, 1985 Microsoft came out with MS Office and re-located itself to Redmond, WA on February 26 of the following year. Now partnered with IBM and feeling fairly sure of its standing in the marketplace, Microsoft decided to take a big step in going public on March 13, 1986. Because of its high profile partnership with IBM, it wasn't long until Microsoft was within the sights of the Federal Trade Commission for secret agreements and cooperation (none of which Microsoft was interested in). This non-cooperation caused many lawsuits and other legal clashes that would continue over the span of a decade. Until 1990 there were certain upgrades made to existing programs such as a larger Bit OS and Microsoft Office. To round off the year, there was another lawsuit bombarded at Microsoft from Novell, and Word competitor.

As the years went on, technology evolved giving rise to new software with new capabilities for new uses for the modern age. From 1995 to 2005 the two main advances in technology included the internet and 32-Bit capabilities. On May 26, 1995, Bill Gated internally sent out a memo dubbed the "Internet Tidal Wave memo". In it, he essentially laid down the groundwork for redefining the company in order to better utilize these new technologies. The company would now focus more on networking and the internet. August 24, 1995 hailed the release of Windows 95 with a new user-friendly interface, new features and of course 32-Bit capacity. In 1996, MS branched out into new markets when it collaborated with NBC Universal to create and 24/7 cable news broadcast station that come to be known as MSNBC. MS also took advantage of the emergence of low memory devices such as personal digital assistants (ex. Palm Pilot) when it created the OS “Windows CE 1.0”. In October 1997 the barrage of legal battles continued with the fresh lawsuit commissioned by the Justice Department on the account that Microsoft violated an agreement signed in 1994. On January 13, 2000, Bill Gates opted to step down from his CEO position at MS and handed it over this his colleague and friend Steve Ballmer. Alongside various other companies, MS co-formed the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance in October 1999 in order to improve security to protect its intellectual properties by monitoring changes in hardware and software. On April 3, 2000, the Department of Justice judged MS as an "abusive monopoly" in the case of United States vs. Microsoft (suit settled in 2004). On October 25, 2001 Microsoft released Windows XP, unifying the mainstream and NT lines under the NT code-base. Later that same year, MS released the Xbox (entering a new market dominated by Sony and Nintendo at the time). In March 2004, the European Union brought yet another lawsuit against MS claiming that it is abusing its dominance. MS was fined €497 million ($613 million) and ordered to produce new versions of Windows XP without Windows Media Player. Present day MS is still in business, having recently come out with Windows Vista, and most recently with Windows 7. Always the innovators, MS is proud of their new products with new, crowd pleasing featuring such as yet a new type of advanced interface dubbed “Aero”. Parallel to the OS sphere, Microsoft Office has also had major upgrades with its own interface dubbed “Ribbon”. On February 27, 2008 another lawsuit befell MS as the relentless European Union imposed another fine of €899 million ($1.4 billion) for Microsoft's lack of compliance with the March 2004 judgment, saying that the company charged rivals unreasonable prices for key information about its work-group and back-office servers. (Microsoft)

Amgen's Timeline
Amgen, located in Conejo Valley, Thousand Oaks, California, is the largest independent Biotechnology firm in the world. It has been noted by BusinessWeek magazine for being one of the most "future-oriented" companies of the 500 corporations on the S&P 500 list. The name “Amgen” actually means Applied Molecular Genetics. Amgen became the official name of the company in 1983. In 1980, Amgen made its initial public offering under the direction of CEO George B. Rathmann. In 1988 the position was held by Gordon M. Binder, and in 2000 by Kevin W. Sharer.

Throughout its history, Amgen became notorious for all the acquisitions it has made. At least five major ones, among others. Spanning from 1994 to 2007, Amgen has taken over a number of bio-pharmaceutical companies including Synergen, Inc, Kinetix Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Immunex Corporation, Tularik, Inc, Abgenix, Inc, Avidia, Inc, Ilypsa, Inc, and Alantos Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. As of June 7, 2010, Amgen had eleven approved drugs for sixteen conditions. Anti-anemia drugs Epogen and Aranesp account for more than one-third of its sales. Enbrel, another leading drug, treats rheumatoid arthritis and is one of the best-selling drugs in this multi-billion-dollar market.

The company has a healthy drug pipeline, as well as marketing alliances with Japanese brewer and drug maker Kirin, Johnson & Johnson, and other pharmaceutical companies. They sell their products primarily through wholesale distributors in North America and Europe.

Amgen focuses on human therapeutics and concentrates on medicines based on advances in cellular and molecular biology. Its noble intentions notwithstanding, however, Amgen doesn't always get it right. As recently as October 19, 2009, the FDA refused to approve a new bone drug meant to increase density by reinforcing and hardening existing marrow. Amgen remains optimistic that the FDA will come around given that they have asked for more information regarding the new medicine and given the successful history of the company. A history that happens to include a similar drug from September 17, 2008 meant to heal the spinal bone disks. (Amgen)

Amgen also cares about its community as they are philanthropic company among everything else. Since its founding in 1991, the Amgen Foundation has contributed more than $140 million to regional and national nonprofit groups that advance science education, improve quality of care and access for patients, and support vital community resources. The Foundation also matches Amgen staff member donations to eligible organizations.

In most recent years (2009-2010), according to the press releases displayed on the official company website, Amgen has simply been keeping itself busy fighting the good fight. Resolving patent disputes with rival company Roche, organizing Breast cancer research and presentation events, authorizing the allocation of capital to various research branches, holding conferences and so on.

The most recent press release was on Nov. 8, 2010 (the day before this paper was written!), and it was titled “Published Results Show Denosumab Superior to Zometa(R) in Delaying or Preventing Bone Complications in Patients With Bone Metastases From Advanced Breast Cancer ”

Which is more entrepreneurial?
Entrepreneurial is defined as: “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise”. Using this definition, in my opinion, Microsoft would be considered more entrepreneurial. The reason for this has to do with the amount of drastic change and risk of that change that MS had to make in order to keep up with the times or else flounder behind. Technology, no doubt, has affected medicine in many ways, but none so much as technology itself. With medicine, if you have ailment A, you are diagnosed and prescribed treatment B; if you have ailment C, you are diagnosed and prescribed treatment D. Technology changes extremely rapidly, as do the wants and needs of the people who use it. In order to be a successful entrepreneur in the field of software and hardware, you must so calculative and relentless in your research and development of products that you should be able to foresee the wants and needs of your target market almost before they themselves do.

If you cannot cope with the natural pace of the industry, you are doomed to drown under the speed of change. Now going back to the pharmaceutical industry. It definitely has its parallels, but I would say that the pace at which our biology changes is much less rapid and wants and needs of medicine consumers requires a lot less guesswork. One could make the argument that diseases are very complex and it is difficult to manufacture effective medicine because of that. This is undeniable. However, if we are using the definition as stated before, then I personally believe that organizing, managing, and assuming risk for a company which far more unknowns and a far greater demand for innovation means a far more potent entrepreneurial spirit.

Which company practices Entrepreneurship?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation ”. Once again, using this definition, in my opinion, I would have to choose Bill Gates. Never mind the fact that he dropped out of Harvard Law to chase his dream down and never mind that he is now one of the richest men in the world thanks to his company. According to this definition, what makes Bill Gates a greater entrepreneur than George B. Rathmann was or Kevin W. Sharer is, is the difference in resources when starting their respective companies. By the time George B. Rathmann started Amgen, he was already well established in the science community having received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1952, becoming a research manager and then research director from 1955 to 1965, working in various scientific positions from 1965 to 1972 such as group technical director and manager of x-ray systems, etc. As it turns out, George B. Rathmann had many years of knowledge under his belt before the fact, which probably made the decision to start his own company a lot easier. Now take Bill Gates in contrast. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard Law in 1975 and started Microsoft that same year. He could not have had nearly the same amount of expertise in his field as Mr. Rathmann may have had in his. Therefore, going back to the aforementioned definition of entrepreneurship; Bill Gates is a person with a much larger corporation (89,000 employee's as of 2010) than that of Mr. Rathmann (17,000 employee's as of 2010). They both took direct responsibility for their companies, but as for the question of turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation; I believe that by the virtue of the lack of experience or support, Bill Gates takes the cake. (Chemheritage)
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