Monday, July 10, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown - Links

The Good

Before the fourth-of-July holiday, SteveSi let loose with a mammoth 30-some page memo describing his refreshing org restructuring going forward. Lots of praise and excitement, even amidst the ambiguity and angst. For the non-memo'd, you get some brief ideas from the previous week's Micronews and from people here leaving "I'm not telling, but I'm very excited!" (generally) comments. And, blog-posting internally, David B. Cross left his own impressions of what this means going forward. I agree, David, it is an exciting change.

I can't wait until we can share it more broadly. I have high hopes.

Additionally:

The Bad

Oh, is something going on over in Europe?

So you have Henry Sanders and teammates scrambling like the dickens now but all I can say is there goes another $500,000,000 or so. Plus daily cash. I think we might need to pawn the handful of Starbucks iDrinks that have managed to pop-up around campus. Somewhere along the way it occurred to us that the Euro Commission was actually serious about this. And every settlement we make results in some other group or government or other offended party licking their lips and thinking, 'Hmm... your bank account inspires us to sue you to help you share it!'

The Unknown

  • The Seattle Times Business & Technology Argo aims guns at more than iPod - all I can plead about the Argo is "please, please, don't pull an Origami here!" Lots of good buzz and people speculating about the features. And you know what, if someone is speculating about a fantastic feature that we're not planning on delivering (say, converting your iTunes over to licensed WMA), how about pulling a Snakes on the Plane and doing it, and reward the community with praise for their feature design. Oh, and: I want one.
  • » The pain of switching to a new OS Ed Bott's Microsoft Report ZDNet.com - okay, I'm setting myself up here to bounce raving Linux fan comments for the next week. But this post is a reality check for Linux / Ubuntu fans thinking they are going to supplant Windows any day now. Uh uh. With servers, you have a fighting chance. With Alpha-geeks reading an O'Reilly Hacks book in-between MakeZine projects, you have a more than advantageous chance. But everyday folk? Nope. Not even for saving $100. But: Thank God for Linux. Thank God for Apple. If it wasn't for competition nothing would get done around here...
  • The Post Money Value An Echo Chamber Moment - goodness, I need a good PR person... maybe the firm could be called Echo-Location? So, should you ever start wadding your panties tightly in anger over what you read here at Mini-Microsoft, just read Mr. Segal's post as a pleasant reminder: 99.99997% of the world's population have never even heard of this freaking little blog. blog. blog. blog.

130 comments:

Anonymous said...

"okay, I'm setting myself up here to bounce raving Linux fan comments for the next week."

I see that after Ed Bott over at ZDNet started a riot on the internet blog re his Windows Kill Switch? (WGA) article, he has given you some good press. There are already 108 posts on the new blog too. I guess the L word is a hot topic, like tha A word or the M word.

Then Mini said, "So, should you ever start wadding your panties tightly in anger over what you read here at Mini-Microsoft, . ."

Mini, I have decided that although many at Microsoft who read this blog would kill to have me gone from the bowels of this 'unknown' blog, I (sigh) am here for a while. Even after two blue screen attempts to shut down my computer over the weekend (I have the dns somewhere, pinged em back a few minutes later), I have come to the conclusion that Microsoft needs me (oh s**t, you say?)

I came to that conclusion after the big WGA kill switch riot, that I am a customer, who, (don't weep over this one) feels like he's being treated like a pirate.

So from now on, when any of you see the word 'pirate', just replace it with the word 'customer' and when you see the word 'customer' replace it with the word 'pirate'.

It will all make sense in time. Eventually, I may even offer my pirate services to MS for a small modest fee to help with the processes of figuring out how to respond to such emotional internal discussions at MS, like omg, what do we do now? The EU just fleeced us again? and so on and yada yada.

Who da'pirate

Anonymous said...

http://biz.yahoo.com/ibd/060710/tech.html?.v=1

explain why microsoft doesnt do documentation and pay fine.

Anonymous said...

Why would Rick Segal expect a bunch of college kids to know about some 'Microsoft employee gripe blog'? The Silicon Valley crowd really need to get out more.

-- Dare

Robert Scoble said...

99.99997% of the people have read my blog....and will be soon buying HDTVs too.

Robert Scoble

Shachar Shemesh said...

I'm a non-microsoftie (and, in fact, an open source advocate). I've been a Wine hacker, and have happened to talk to some of the Samba team, including Andrew Trdgdell, who's testimony was crucial to the EU commision's final decision. Here is how things look on "our side".

MS has a heap of interconnected technology. This includes network protocols, file formats, API calls etc., which are totally and utterly undocumented. As you can understand, we don't have perfect insight into what happens internally, but all signs I can see point to the fact that they are every bit as undocumented inside Microsoft as they are outside.

This is plain bad software development practice. It's unprofessional. Beyond anything else, it means that MS's employees, when THEY (you) have to interact with one of those "black hole" technologies, have to reverse engineer the code to understand the interface.

Personal opinin & example, this is the major reason Open Office is better at understanding Word 2000 documents than Office 2003 is. Star division just made better effort at understanding what all those fields actually mean than Microsoft did, and formally documenting it. I get the impression that this is the main appeal of docX to MS - it's more difficult to run loose with an XML format, and it's a chance to start fresh.

And then what happens? The EU decides to force MS to document and open all network protocols. Bummer. This isn't just some internal document that can simply be opened. This document probably requires over a year's work just to prepare, and I'm only talking SMB here. I can only imagine what horrors just protocols as "Exchange" hold. In fact, the best place to start is probably the Samba code!

So, what does MS execs do? They have a solution. Instead of spending all this time (that should have been spent ages ago) on documenting the mess, just let your "competitors" see the actual code. Will it help them? Well, sortof, but at least they are no worse off than the internal MS guys, right? There are two pluses for this plan, as far as MS goes:
1. You just turned a horrible money pit into a profit opertunity.
2. Open source projects are out of the loop.

Well, that and the fact that you don't have to write a document that says "this field has to be 2 or 3 for no good reason".

This plan was good enough to cause each and every company backing the EU actions to fold (with some monetary incentive), except one. The FOSS community. Tridge actually went to the EU court and testified about what it actually meant. Guess what? He sure can articulate those points, and the EU understood. This is the actual reason to the current MS mess.

Again, personal opinion - if MS now spends the humongous amount of money it takes to pay off the fine and document the beast, it will be money well spent if it means that it will finally have documentation for its protocols.

Shachar

Anonymous said...

Dare: Rick Segal lives in Toronto Canada and doesn't like Silicon Valley. Of course you'd know that if you actually read his blog.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, the beautiful thing is that now no one really knows whether Robert Scoble actually posts here or not. We can all be Robert Scoble!!!

Me, I wanna be "Who da'Punk" for a day.

I wonder if da'Punk will let posts through that are marked as Who da'Punk or are we just supposed to make Scoble sound stupider than he already does?

Not Really Robert Scoble said...

To all ABMs (Anyone But Microsoft), European Union, Scott McNeely, and the rest of you haters out there, check this out

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/images/ballmer_tongue.jpg

Anonymous said...

Well, for once, it may be that David B Cross blog-posted his excitement only hoping SteveSi would read his blog (and offer to keep him in that cozy position he currently occupies - or even to promote him). Then, some of the ideas expressed in David's post are plain wrong - I'll comment more on this subject if his post will be made available externally.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mini! About the linux thing. Most of the time those geeks are raving about Linux because they know they will need to support their friends PCs anyways. Being able to do this remotely helps a lot. Having package-management and file based 'registry' means a whole new level of baseline in your OS.

With the openness of open source software you are pretty sure you can track down the author and discuss any problem. Say my taskbar hangs intermittently in KDE. I'll find out that a guy named Aaron Seigo is working on it and contact him to see if he knows anything about my problem. Try that with Microsoft software. :-/

Please note, these are all things Microsoft can fix. And there have been attempts (MSI packages, blogs, XML config files with .NET). But they only go so far. I really hope that Microsoft can make positive changes.

Robert Scoble said...

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, said Tuesday that there is an 80 percent chance that the software giant’s next-generation operating system, Vista, will be ready in January, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Anonymous said...

To other MSFTies: where can someone outside SteveSi's org can read his email? Is it posted somewhere in corpnet?

Anonymous said...

There are two pluses for this plan, as far as MS goes:
1. You just turned a horrible money pit into a profit opertunity.
2. Open source projects are out of the loop.


Shachar, can you clearify the above? You mean that since OSS developers should have "seen" the code, further OSS development on SMB might have patent or other proprietary leagal issues and therefore would no longer be possible to release (at least under the OSS licences)?

Robert Scoble said...

@Shachar

"all signs I can see point to the fact that they are every bit as undocumented inside Microsoft as they are outside"

This sort of FUD is on a par with anonymous commenting, just cowardly and plain wrong. I also know it is not true because as part of my creation of Channel 9 I was able to interview all 60,000 of Microsoft's employees and they all told me it wasn't true either. And Ballmer confimed it too when I told him how to stop the stock tanking, just by consulting influentials like me.

I just wish all you mini commenters would get your facts straight, or at least ask me first before coming across as ignorant fools.

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, said Tuesday that there is an 80 percent chance that the software giant’s next-generation operating system, Vista, will be ready in January, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

It really doesn't matter if it is coming out in January or March as long as the company does not miss the back to school shopping season.

OEM's need 4 months to test and install the product, so March/April time frame will work just as well.

TheKhalif said...

Hey Mini,
I haven't posted in awhil ebu something in this edition is causing me lots o fworry. If J allard is listening, please don't directly compete with iPod. They're going to kill you. iPod is a section in department stores.

WiFi or not, that is market presence and the bleeding will be profuse.

Also in related competitor news. Google is now a verb in Oxford Dictionary. That will be hard to overcome even with a better search engine.

I hate seeing MS wasting money on futile efforts. MarJo Foley suggested soemthign that I knew years ago.

Vista should be the ultimate "thin client" with a pluggable architecture. Hopefully the next one after LongHorn server will trim down the junk and only add what's needed to run programs.

MS is int he unique position of influencng things and they (mgmt) are spending too muh time and money chasing down other markets when Wall St would be jsut as hppy backing MS as a value play with stability.

Just from normal PC growth the income will ALWAYS increase. Cutting back on unnecessary features could save millions of man hours and maybe even bilions of dollars.


Ahving third party plugins would also help shift the work and allow MS to focus on the kernel and security while aothers added gadgets and UI enhancements. It worked fine for Win98.

In other words, MS should take some of those bilions and move the island closer to the rest of the industry.

Anonymous said...

Well, although i'm not a big MSFT fan and though i am a European, i think this whole buissnies is kinda strange. Why should MSFT have to give out a proprietary protocol?

I have wondered for a couple of years now why the OSS community hasn't come up with their own portable netwrok-filesharing protocol (besides NFS). Is it too complicated to implement in Windows/Mac/whatever where one don't have access to the kernel?

I think there are better ways to fight MSFT leagaly. Do MS still "reward" the resellers who don't bundle other OS:s on their PC:s (by OEM discount or otherwise)?

Why not force them to support open document formats in Word/Excel, or demand it when considering buying their software?

Unfortunatly the technology of today has come so far and become so good that the big companies is starting to spend more money on restricting the new technology, (DRM, Phone home, root kits, copy protection, proprietary standards, obscure licences, patents) than letting users/customers use their full potential.

This is not just a problem i have with MSFT though it applies to the majority of big companies in the software business.

Anonymous said...

The "Microsoft scrambles to meet EU demands" article indicates that the EU is engaged in a money grab and/or a "flexing its muscles" excerise.

How can the EU trustee meet with Microsoft in March, three months after the Dec "deadline", and at that meeting, clarify the documentation request, come up with a revised schedule, and have Microsoft meet all goalposts of the revised schedule, the final of which is July 18, and still impose fines on July 11?

Sounds like the March meeting was in bad faith. By clarifying the request in March, the EU tacitly admits that the previous request was not clear. And by coming up with a revised schedule, but imposing fines 7 days before the endpoint of that schedule, indicates that the EU has been playing games.

I'm going to laugh the the EU court (a real court, not the E. Commission, which lacks simple concepts such as due process), overturns much of the EC's bs (substantially reducing the fine (or eliminating it altogether), such that the EU would have to repay MS).

Anonymous said...

And you know what, if someone is speculating about a fantastic feature that we're not planning on delivering (say, converting your iTunes over to licensed WMA), how about pulling a Snakes on the Plane and doing it, and reward the community with praise for their feature design.

Can you say "instant antitrust lawsuit", since licensed WMA is pretty much in bed with Windows Media and Windows? I knew you would.

Christ, didn't you guys learn from Netscape and "knifing the baby"? Using a big pile of money to give things away for free and "cutting off the air supply" doesn't help.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of WGA, does anybody remember the internal video about Windows piracy that was sent out a while ago? It was mainly a cartoon of Brian V in his hockey gear?

The video started out by explaining that the vast, vast majority of Windows piracy was a) in foreign countries and b) corporate. Then it said we (Microsoft employees) should help by being vigilant and making sure our friends don't pirate Windows.

Basically it asked us to get real fired up about something it just told us wasn't a big problem. Talk about asinine. Anybody involved with that project (including Brian) should be fired.

Robert Scoble said...

Hey Mini, I think you would get more readers if you had a photo on your web site. You know, the personal touch, like Dell has now. Give it a try.

Also the site needs to be in HD.

Heheh.

Anonymous said...

Regarding MSFT and EU fines from the previous post, some of you had stated that it is EU law, end the monopoly, you want more choices etc. I agree with all of you, but why should MSFT allow other companies to access its products for free. These companies in turn make billions of dollars without investing one cent in the development of MSFT’s products. BillG said today that it will cost MSFT between $8 - $9 billion to create Vista.

MSFT has always said that it would allow others access to its products for a licensing fee. This is similar to what Adobe told MSFT and what Dell told MSFT and GOOG. Why is it okay for Dell to make a billion dollars from Google to list them as the main search engine and for MSFT to just hand over access to their products for free? As a shareholder, EU and all the other companies are trying to steal from my pocket.

Let’s talk about Seattle’s other big company – Boeing. When Boeing develops an airplane, they share in the cost of development with other companies like GE, Rolls Royce, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, etc. Now, should Rolls Royce get to place their engine on a Boeing airplane without paying any money for the development of the product just because it is an EU company or because Boeing is a monopoly when it comes to the 787?

I have never heard of any other company asked to hand over their trade secrets or be fined.

Mike said...

>all signs I can see point to the fact that they are every bit as undocumented inside Microsoft as they are outside.

The problem is not so much that they were never documented, as that Microsoft doesn't have a good document repository for all the specs that do get written. On top of that, there isn't a culture of referring to those documents. In fact the culture is almost explicitly anti-"corporate memory".

When there is a turnover in staff in a product group (whether it be one person changing roles or a team of PMs walking out), there isn't a habit of reviewing old specs or position papers. Even going from one version to another, I would rarely see any attempt to harvest the efforts of previous spec writers. So you see new attempts to write feature X that completely ignore the documented knowledge from earlier teams.

Mary Jo Foley says "stop pitting internal teams against each other". Going beyond that advice, I say stop pitting individuals against their predecessors.

There's also very little incentive to get on top of issues that come back every product cycle. I remember leaving a couple of teams with a full write up of all the day to day and year to year problems for that role, explaining why certain approaches were taken....the sorts of things which you really can't deduce due to the unique turn of events with each product. Even after publishing this document to the team server, leaving a printout on the new incumbent's desk etc, it was pretty clear that within a month of my leaving, that all those efforts were wasted.

Part of this comes from the mentality that you earn a badge of honour being thrown in the deep end - it's all about YOUR career development, rather than the repercussions for the company, the product or the customer.

Look at all those lawsuits that used to come up simply because an external "partner" company was left out in the cold as soon as their MS contact changed positions. There's no hand-over process in these situations because it's not incumbent on the manager of the former partnership contact to manage transitions.

Robert Scoble said...

Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, said Tuesday that there is a 20 percent chance that the software giant’s next-generation operating system, Vista, will not be ready in January, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

I am Robert Scoble

MSFTextrememakeover said...

I don't think Wilcox's argument is overly compelling. In particular, the parent/child analogy normally assumes that your parents don't ask you to do unreasonable things. Whereas in this case, the parent (The EUC) is clearly asking MSFT to do some asinine things (i.e. ship a version of Windows w/o Media Player for both people who want that) and arguably some things that could harm it badly (i.e. disclose an ever-expanding list of technical specs). As I posted today, I think both sides are playing games, but unfortunately only MSFT and its investors can get hurt short-term. Maybe that's the right call strategically, but it's not helping perceptions or the stock price in the interim.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Bush administration ought to step in to mediate the spat between Microsoft and the EU. Over $1B Euro per year seems to be a trade balance issue, although admittedly not a huge one.

Doesn't the EU have more effective weapons at its disposal? They could start shifting more governmental desktops and servers to Linux, which after all, has somewhat of a European pedigree (Torvalds). Or they could threaten same unless Microsoft met certain conditions. In the past, this has seemed to work like magic as far as drawing a visit from Ballmer. MS doesn't want Linux distros running the experience curve with lots of high-volume paying customers, gaining field-tested knowledge and funding support staff at Red Hat and Novell.

This huge fine reminds me of the tobacco settlement won by the States AG in the US - politicians love it because it's a big source of funding for pork barrel projects that doesn't require raising taxes. In the end, the citizens don't even benefit much because a bunch of stupid stuff gets funded, but the pols get something to crow about.

Anonymous said...

"These companies in turn make billions of dollars without investing one cent in the development of MSFT’s products."

uh. . . I feel you pain man. . . but I think you are a bit confused. Let me put it another way that maybe would clear things up: I'm a customer. With my windows OS, I cannot use software required for me to make a living on any other operating system. Fair enough. I cannot use most other files created with software on another computer, say a MAC on my Windows PC. Fair enough. I can access files on the web (sort of) with both machines/OS products. But that does not work for me because probably in a few months time I will use an internet appliance for that, bypassing both the MAC and the Windows OS. All because these companies (Apple and Microsoft) play by an old business model called " my way or the highway, bub".

Now, understand that there is a concept of unified standards (not referring to the open OS guys, but am referring to just a normal culture of interoperability) that should exist for certain things like how packets move across the internet, or how stuff is read and accepted by all kinds of computers univerally and everybody is fine with that, but when it comes to some of the OS players, they don't want to play that game. Old school thinking. Its over. You can't have all the toys and not share. It is an operating system, the lifeline of computing. Things should work together across the board.

I am saying that unless Microsoft and Apple does work with the rest of the computing industry to develop a system of universally echangability and interoperability, then I can understand how MS and Apple would be subject to all kinds of really bizarre and difficult government interventions.

If you were making Boeing Aircraft or Toyota hybrid engines, that is not the same as an operating system which is used like money, like blood, like electricity, like the telephone lines. These things are things that people, customers, users consider important as systems developed with standards, cooperation and consistency so you don't have these crazy scenarios like stuff not working except on system A and songs not playing except on player B.

Customer says all the little boys and girls have to play together in the same pool, no dunking and no holding little timmy's head underwater so he drowns. Now that's just not playing fair. I hope you understand, the OS belongs to MS, but is used by everybody, even those who don't buy it through files and components produced by others.

Microsoft is welcome to charge what they want for the product, but the company needs to also understand that it is not an island and we aren't going to let it limit what works or doesn't depending on how much money you pay. An OS just has to work, fairly, interchangably and cooperatively with all the other little boys and girls in the pool. That is why there are laws against monoplolistic practices. Its in the MS culture and thats the hard part to change.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is not so much that they were never documented, as that Microsoft doesn't have a good document repository for all the specs that do get written. On top of that, there isn't a culture of referring to those documents. In fact the culture is almost explicitly anti-"corporate memory"."

It is worse than even that. So many of the little details are bugs on top of hacks on top of patches on top of bugs on top of half-thought-out designs.

So much of the code isn't designed with long-term maintainance or support in mind. I swear that half the code I worked on should have been set on fire an buried in Yuca Mountain.

Although I am glad to have made improvements in those components, I am embarassed that I wasn't allowed to do more.

...okay, okay, I am ranting and it isn't quite *that* bad across the board, but it is that bad in far too many places and now that it has shipped we can't rip it out because we need to maintain compatability.

Shachar Shemesh said...

I have to say (@Robert Scoble) that it is mighty strange that after I leave my full name + link to the web site for the company I founded, you still claim I'm an anonymous coward. Well done! For the reference, the thing that makes anonymous commenting cowardly is precisely the fact that the author will not stand up behind his/her claims, not the absurdety of the claims themselves.

Do check out http://shemesh.biz/sun.html for an explanation of what my name means. That same site also has my resume and an email address you can contact me with. You can even check out http://www.winehq.com/site/who for what my role at the Wine project used to be. If you still think I'm anonymous, well, there's probably no convincing you.

As for the claims themselves. What I can tell you from working on Wine is this. The APIs, and particularily, their interactions, speak volumes. While I've never seen the source code for Windows (and will continue to refuse to see it so long as MS defines it as a "trade secret", or I won't be able to work on Wine again), I can tell you about APIs that are deprecated despite not being marked so in MSDN, or circular dependencies in them. Spend enough time on it, and many of the "why" just come out.

So, Robert, if you want to call me "wrong", that's fine. I won't be offended. I specifically said these were educated guesses. I just want you to put your name behind your claims, like I did behind mine. You interviewed 60,000 developers, and can categorically say that specs do exists. Great! Do tell us for which protocols. Go ahead, and state WHICH specs you've seen. I won't ask you to produce them. I'm just asking you to say "I have seen the spec for Word" (not the horrible hack that used to be in MSDN some years ago and was pulled), or for the Exchange protocol, or for SMB. Anything which isn't trolling, really.

@Anonymous who asked whether I can clarify: MS views the source code as a crucial piece of trade secret. This means that "giving competitors a peek" is always accompanied by an NDA, and often also requires money from competitors. Both requirements effectively exclude open source projects, which will not pay the money and which cannot sign an NDA.

I hope this answers your question.

Regarding the anonymous who said "i think this whole buissnies is kinda strange", I do believe I have an answer for you. MS was convicted of illegally using its monopoly for squashing competition and promoting it's "standards" (this is not a standard, or even a "de-facto" standard. A standard HAS to be documented in order to be called one) to the point of becoming more monopolies.

This means that all financial gains MS have from the fact it owns the IP were illegally gained, and it is not entirely unreasonable to ask them to give them up. Otherwise you're just left with "you did something wrong, but I'm not going to punish you", which is, effectively, what the US did.

Shachar

moopy said...

While we're on the subject of the unknown, I've got a question to throw out to the crowd: What do you ask during an informational to help make sure you're talking to a great team, not a miserable one?

Like so many softies, I've been on my team since I was a college hire. I'm looking for something different and I'm doing informationals for my first time. But I realize that I don't really know what to look for. I've certainly got my own ideas, but there's enough collective wisdom and cynicism that it couldn't hurt to ask :)

Anonymous said...

Suggestion - why don't you do another post on accountability (or lack thereof). That fits in with bad and the rectification steps should be at the top of the way to make it good.

Anonymous said...

Part of this comes from the mentality that you earn a badge of honour being thrown in the deep end ...

Another way you earn your badge is to suggest more, and more progressively complex, and more impossible-to-implement features. There are members (now they are possibly ex-members) of the Vista team that made their retirements by suggesting features that were phenomenal to think about but ultimately impractical. They were no doubt revered for their brilliance, offered promotions and stock awards, and held as exemplars of genius, that type rarely found outside of redmond. I would like to see someone revered for stripping the clutter from products making them practical and more user friendly.

Anonymous said...

Here is a small positive (that you have alluded to before). Cutting WinFS!

Peter & Paul: Hey Steve, are you taking a bet on this WinFS.
Sinofsky: (To himself - do these guys think I am stupid) I am not sure we are ready to make that decision. Our strategic priority is blah blah

Peter & Paul: OK, let's fold the tent on WinFS. Toss promotions to Quentin and a few others to keep our patronage network. Let's find another project that we can staff up to 300 people and sell as big vision thing. Hey we make lots of money - so why not.

Robert Scoble said...

Wait a second... if YOU are Robert Scoble, who am I? This really confuses me... I guess I'll have to post to my blog Anonymous now... I'll call it Anonymeizer

Anonymous said...

<< "all signs I can see point to the fact that they are every bit as undocumented inside Microsoft as they are outside"

This sort of FUD is on a par with anonymous commenting, just cowardly and plain wrong. >>

Umm, Robert. The 'undocumented inside MSFT" view is actually kinder to MSFT than your view.

You say that that the protocols and API's are documented. Therefore the reason that MSFT hasn't complied with the EU's ruling must therfore be pure obstinate obstruction on MSFT's part.

Who da'Punk said...

Fine coverage:

Todd Bishop: EU fines Microsoft $357m: Notes and links

Microsoft Monitor: The EU Fines

Microsoft: Fine not appropriate; key issue not compliance, but clarity of March 2004 decision.

And note that Kroes is seriously warning Microsoft over Vista. I hope we have the most basic, stripped down, do-nearly-nothing version of Vista ready at ship, because otherwise we're just walking into it.

What would it be like to work at Microsoft and not have some pending anti-trust issue clouding your day? I forget...

Anonymous said...

What do you ask during an informational to help make sure you're talking to a great team, not a miserable one?

I wrote up a couple of questions I ask during informationals at http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/PermaLink.aspx?guid=0201bfaf-e017-402a-a82a-dae96cae6da1 when I was going through them a few years ago.

The list was

1. How do you make decisions such as adding new features, entering a new competitive space or cutting features?
2. How do you contribute to your product unit's bottomline? If not, are you strategic?
3. Who are your competitors? Do you have any overlap with other Microsoft products?
4. Ask about work/life balance. What is the policy on flex time, earliest meeting times, on average what kind of hours people work, etc.
5. What are my growth prospects on this team?
6. What is the worst thing about your job?

-- Dare

Anonymous said...

Is Ballmer auditioning for a job at the Gates Foundation? That's the only other place I know that gives away this much money.

Although we can't act like we're surprise, after all, we are talking about the guy who did this...

(note: this is the extended 3 minute, hilarious remix)
http://achurch.org/media/ballmer.avi


Ballmer. Must. Go.

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we shouldn't just tell the EU to fuck off. "Microsoft products aren't for sale in EU contries any more, you're too difficult to do business with."

It would be a hit to the bottom line, but we run that risk anyway with the EU and all these fines, and the problems they cause for our developement, so limit our losses and make a strategic move. Nothing illegal about withdrawing our products from a market if we don't think we can meet the legal standards set in that market.

Businesses in Europe would suffer huge problems trying to make a massive all-at-once move to Linux, and the EU ministers would get an earfull and probably come back trying to make nice with their tail between their legs.

Or everyone would switch to Linux and we'd suffer a big setback. Depends on how good Vista is Linux. But it would certainly be a bold move from leadership that hasn't made very many bold moves lately.

PS: I love how the Wine guy completely missed the joke. Ah well, who has time for humor when your mission in life is defending an ungrateful universe from the Redmond Horde.

Anonymous said...

"You say that that the protocols and API's are documented. Therefore the reason that MSFT hasn't complied with the EU's ruling must therfore be pure obstinate obstruction on MSFT's part."

As well they should. Let the EU come up with their own standard protocols if they wish to promote inteoperability. Ditto for the OSS crowd, who are so much more skilled than MS that they should easily be able to develop superior designs.

Good or bad, MS' stuff was created by them and belongs to them.

Anonymous said...

An OS just has to work, fairly, interchangeably and cooperatively with all the other little boys and girls in the pool. That is why there are laws against monopolistic practices

MSFT is in business to make money period. They are not in the business to give away something for nothing. It seems that the only people who talk about wanting to “play fair” are the people who don’t want pay their fair share. It’s like the United Nations model. All the countries talk about wanting an equal seat at the table, but when it comes time to pay their fair share, 90% of them don’t pay up.

Anonymous said...

"What would it be like to work at Microsoft and not have some pending anti-trust issue clouding your day? I forget..."

WANTED: one desktop 8087 IBM computer, with 10 megabyte hard disk, and I can't remember how much ram, maybe 16kbts. Must be in working order so I can run my Windows 1.0 and DOS MS Word and DOS MS Project, which does not run on Windows 1.0.

Somewhere back there Whoda. Don't let it go to your heads though. Microsoft still needs to be small like a little company, with a major corp coiture reversal.

who da'pirate

Anonymous said...

OK. My opinion on the EU case. While the EU is MASSIVELY flawed in their logic and you make some good points...Microsoft has a major customer relations problem in Europe. I put this squarely at the feet of the executives in the EMEA sub. If our "good" partners like Siemens and SAP (for example) were to go to the EU and tell them to lay off, if our big customers like Citibank, like AXA (France), like BT or BP, like Allianz or Zurich Insurance were to go to the EU and say, "gee, Microsoft is a strategic platform for us and we need you to lay off"...I have a feeling that the EU would back off. The same goes for the individual country governments to which we sell. That's what we call a customer relationship strategy issue and takes executive love, attention and leadership. Something we're in sore need of. So while the EU is wrong, we've done nothing on the enterprise customer front to make this easier for us to get out of.

You know what? How about if we just told the EU, OK, we're not selling Windows (the covered SKUs under the indictment) in the EU anymore. We just pull out products. Wouldn't that be cheaper than the fines we are paying. Just tell them we're pulling Windows Update and new products and all that other stuff. I have a feeling that our enterprise customers would tell the EU to back off since we ARE a strategic bet for so many over there. Time for some leadership...if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

To Shachar Shemesh: Not only was that not really Scoble, but I believe that his post was intended as sarcasm. "I have personally interviewed all 60,000 employees" leads me to think that the post was not intended seriously - more as a play on Scoble bragging up his accomplishments.

I wasn't the author, so I'm guessing. And it was pretty subtle. But I think you're reading it wrong.

MSS

Anonymous said...

I hope we have the most basic, stripped down, do-nearly-nothing version of Vista ready at ship, because otherwise we're just walking into it.

Geez, Mini, speaking of "walking into it" ... ;-) I'm sure I won't be the first or last to comment:

"Oh, I'm sure the version of Vista that will be ready to ship in January will be do-nearly-nothing, regardles of the EU."

NAS said...

Both requirements effectively exclude open source projects, which will not pay the money and which cannot sign an NDA.

That's really open source's problem, isn't it? Or, as it more frequently turns out to be, "copy source".

Did Compaq bitch and moan like this when they cloned the PC? I forget, maybe they did. But that's just the way it does when you try to clone someone else's hard work rather than come up with your own original solution. Accept it.

Anonymous said...

[And note that Kroes is seriously warning Microsoft over Vista. I hope we have the most basic, stripped down, do-nearly-nothing version of Vista ready at ship, because otherwise we're just walking into it.]

"General Counsel Brad Smith, in a conference call to discuss the $357 million fine the company received from the European Commission, said it's laid out four alternatives to European regulators on what to do about its next-generation Vista operating system. Smith said the E.C. has yet to respond about the proposed alternatives, which he didn't outline."

http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7bAA51EA3A-B6F8-4583-A753-1AB63769259A%7d&siteid=yhoo&dist=yhoo

Bottom line, MSFT needs to win the appeal in front of the Court of First Instance. Otherwise, problems in Europe have only just begun.

Mike said...

>I would like to see someone revered for stripping the clutter from products making them practical and more user friendly.

LOL. A former GPM of Windows nearly gagged during a 1998 informational when I suggested a small fit-and-finish team should comb through the UI to fix inconsistencies.

I think the closest I got to being allowed that in a product feature area was devoting about 80% of my resources on fixing all the high severity bugs that got punted year after year (usually so that some impossible-to-implement feature that no one asked for could be done). It's great forging new ground, but there are meat-and-potatoes issues which come up again and again and again no matter how much your GPM/PUM/VP wishes they would go away.

Moopy wrote: What do you ask during an informational to help make sure you're talking to a great team, not a miserable one?

You pretty much need an informational with HR to find out what the staff turnover is in your product role.

1) If you're replacing someone, ask why they're leaving and what fires are already burning on their watch. 2) Ask who they think their customers might be and how they engage with them. If they have no real customers, then you'd be better off interviewing in the cafeteria.
3) Ask what mistakes they made in the last year/cycle and how they learnt from them.
4) Finally (and I wish I'd learnt this earlier) - if your interviewer spends an hour talking about how great *she* is, RUN AWAY!

Outside of the informational there are other ways to intuit the group pulse: 1) lurk on a few product-related discussion lists that your prospective team members/managers are members of; 2) walk their hallways and read the wall-charts/posters etc.

NAS said...

This huge fine reminds me of the tobacco settlement won by the States AG in the US.

Remember when the tobacco companies first accepted a proposed deal? The anti-tobacco people immediately backed off, figuring any deal acceptable to tobacco was "too lenient". Yes, that is the mentality when you are running an extortion racket. If everyone pays up every week, you are obviously not charging enough. The EU found their pretext, the one thing Microsoft is desperate not to do: help open source software copy its products.

The EU has deduced what it can extort from Microsoft, we'll see how well that works out for them. Anyone who thinks fairness must ultimately prevail should look at the Eolas patent case--what a colossal waste that was for everyone except a small band of greedy Eolas execs.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, there goes another $357M of cash not to mention another $400M+ of lost market cap. Nice job Ballmer et al. I wonder what kind of SPSA bonuses the lead executives in charge of MSFT's EU response are getting? See you at $19.

Anonymous said...

"I have never heard of any other company asked to hand over their trade secrets or be fined."

Study monopoly rulings. IBM, among others, was required to do exactly this as part of its settlement many years ago. Welcome to the world of antitrust law.

Anonymous said...

Foley's 5 steps, while by no means a total solution, would be an excellent start.

Anonymous said...


What do you ask during an informational to help make sure you're talking to a great team, not a miserable one?


That's easy ...

What do you think of Mini's blog?

Anonymous said...

Customer says all the little boys and girls have to play together in the same pool

I think you answered your own question. If little boys and girls want to play in the same pool, then their parents can pay the membership fee to use the pool or pay for the development and maintenance of the pool. Instead you just want to show up, let your kids eat the free hotdogs and leave. Then it is someone else’s problem to cleanup, pay for the lifeguard, electric bill and insurance bill of the facility.

You don’t see the government going after Exxon and the other oil companies to provide free gas to poor people because they can’t afford to go to work. Neither do you see the government going after pharmaceutical companies to give free medicine to people who need it to basically function in their everyday lives.

Then why is MSFT treated differently? It’s time for the Europeans to put down their bonbons and create their own products.

Anonymous said...

What do you ask during an informational to help make sure you're talking to a great team, not a miserable one?

Couple of thoughts:

When and where was your last team event?

Who on the team had a birthday recently?

When is the last time you worked a weekend?

When is the last time you worked through dinner? Was the rest of the team there? Was dinner provided?

What you really want, I think, is a peek at the manager feedback results from the last review cycle. Does HR make those available internally?

Anonymous said...

I vote for #1 in Ms. Foley's article. Would sure help all us customers to have things work together TODAY and not v3 that is cleared by all the lawyers for meeting someones "standard" of integration.
As Mini says, Vista should be just that Vista. We are fully capable of adding your other products to run on it. All we have to worry about is how they all FIT TOGETHER?

Customer

Anonymous said...

I read through most of SteveSi's memo. Nothing exciting or revolutionary that we need. I guess the devil is in the detail.

Anonymous said...

Mini are you plain retarded or what are these dumb "Scoble" posts supposed to achieve?

Yeah, I know you won't publish this but you can at least know what some of us feel

Anonymous said...

Ballmer should follow Steve Jobs’s lead and threaten to stop selling their respective companies products in Europe.

Another way to get around the EU fine is to have European companies buy directly from an US address or from an offshore location. This is similar to what online gambling companies do to get around the US gambling laws.

Anonymous said...

Kroes is basically fighting to keep her department legitimate. She has to set an example and Microsoft is a convenient target. In the end, the court will reduce the fine and politicians will work thru the back channels to reduce the remaining fine. Microsoft will throw in some free software, free hats and maybe even a few frisbees.

Anonymous said...

Regarding today's EU fine: To those in charge of solving this EU problem for the past two years: SHAME ON YOU INCOMPETENTS! You deserve a 2.0 in your reviews, and be fired on the spot.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, MSFT needs to win the appeal in front of the Court of First Instance. Otherwise, problems in Europe have only just begun

Bottom line, MSFT needs adept management so that things dont get this far out of hand.

Anonymous said...

"What we really need is guidance in advance, not criticism after the fact" Brad Smith was quoted as saying after the EU ruling.

Personally I think the guy should get fired for messing up and for making such idiotic statements, but I realize that is wishful thinking, he is probably going to get a whopping bonus

Anonymous said...

"Another way to get around the EU fine is to have European companies buy directly from an US address or from an offshore location."

Works for me. That way I can buy my OS from a US address, have it shipped to Europe, then have it shipped back to me here in Oregon.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer should follow Steve Jobs’s lead and threaten to stop selling their respective companies products in Europe.

He'd better hurry, the entire city of Munich is migrating to linux, server to desktop.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody as SteveB his thoughts on this article? http://money.cnn.com/2006/07/10/magazines/fortune/rules.fortune/ (Since he seems to be running us like Welch ran his company.)
My favorite: *Customer is king.
Who knew? I sure wish this would get through more people's heads around campus. (Ex. the discontinuing of Win98/WinME. Why couldn't that be contracted out/out sourced for support?)

Anonymous said...

The tone of this blog has improved already (the boos are audible, please stop). With a bit of discipline on the part of commenters and with mini's studious moderation, we've got a fine MM MarkII. No kidding. I think it would be great if someday mini could come out of the shadows and get some of the same love accorded that scoundrel robert scoble. Go mini. (don't come out of the shadows just yet. there is a bit more haranguing of management to be done, partners to be impugned, programs to be re-aligned ... all done tastefully, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Ballmer. Must. Go.

Ballmer is a rascal, but he was much worse when working side-by-side with billg every day. In my opinion, they took delight in cracking the industry over the skull and pirating away market share. In my opinion they did so in sort of a mean-spirited and juvenile way - that game unfortunately ran into extra innings. Today, with Bill more scarce, and Ballmer having to relate more to Ozzie and Mundie, we may see a different type of CEO to emerge. I'm holding my breath.

Anonymous said...

Regarding informationals:

Make sure to meet 1:1 with at least 3 people on the team, and ask them all the same questions. If you get consistent answers, that's a good sign. What you really want to look for is teams with strong relationships between dev/test/pm. If dev is pissed at test or test thinks the PMs just sit around all day not doing work, it's pretty easy to dig out that vibe and get a feel for the dynamic. If there's not good dev/test/pm chemistry, forget it.

It's also a good idea to meet with members from different disciplines, not just your discipline.

Also, if you can track a couple people down, talking to people who have recently left that group is by far the best way to get the straight dope on a team. Just keep in mind that it will be over-biased to the negative.

Bottom line: you want a team where people are excited and like working with each other. Tailor the questions around finding that out.

moopy said...

Thanks for the suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will throw in some free software, free hats and maybe even a few frisbees.

Apparently, the Europeans are insisting on free towels and on continent dry cleaning services.

Anonymous said...

"But that's just the way it does when you try to clone someone else's hard work rather than come up with your own original solution."

You mean like implementing PDF document creation in your software package? Oh, hang on, creating PDFs is easy, because it's an open, well documented standard.

Anyway, yes, withdraw the products from the whole of Europe as a deliberate ploy to try and cripple European business: that won't look at all monopolistic, and menacing, will it?

NO HIRE!!!

(idiot)

Anonymous said...

Microsoft will throw in some free software, free hats and maybe even a few frisbees

I noticed you didn’t mention free towels. Maybe that is what EU wanted all along, but was too proud to ask.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Mini, we've been enScobled!

I'm the open-source developer who had some problem with Visual C++ Express and complained about it several moons ago. That's fixed now, and I can finally get down to work. And Good Lord, I'm not trying to get your bounce-o-meter into overdrive!

I just had to comment on some of the Microsofties' comments on the European Union and some of the software choices out there.

You see, SMB/CIFS is just one of quite a number of distributed file systems out there. It's far from being the best - indeed, NFS, which is usually seen as the Unix/Linux equivalent, is also seen - by Unix/Linuxy people - as horribly insecure, although that has been improved somewhat. Both SMB/CIFS and NFS are usually seen as being only LAN-sized or campus-sized at the very best, as a direct result of their security problems. There are some distributed file systems I've come across that scale to the Internet, quite reliably and quite securely - OpenAFS is one of them, as is Coda.

Now when you Microsofties start talking like this:
"As well they should. Let the EU come up with their own standard protocols if they wish to promote inteoperability. Ditto for the OSS crowd, who are so much more skilled than MS that they should easily be able to develop superior designs."
that provides the EU and other such large organizations the incentive to do just that.

Tell me, who working in Microsoft trusts SMB/CIFS enough to use it over the Internet?

Guess who's going to blink first.

Anonymous said...

"He'd better hurry, the entire city of Munich is migrating to linux, server to desktop."

Yeah, how many years late is that project so far? LOL.

Anonymous said...

"Bottom line, MSFT needs adept management so that things dont get this far out of hand."

Yes, that's even more accurate.

Anonymous said...

"LOL. A former GPM of Windows nearly gagged during a 1998 informational when I suggested a small fit-and-finish team should comb through the UI to fix inconsistencies."

LOL. 8 years later, believe it or not, there actually IS a small fit-and-finish team combing through the UI to fix inconsistencies. They've had literally hundreds of bugs fixed and dozens and dozens of reviews with teams all over Windows. I've been amazed at the kinds of bugs they've been able to get fixed, to be honest; I've never seen those kinds of things fixed this later in a ship cycle in ANY product unless an individual developer sneaked them in as part of another checkin. It's actually very cool, and one of the remaining things that keeps me here, even though I don't work on that team.

Anonymous said...

Here's a free clue for some people: You're playing with a government here. And not just a little two-bit country, either. They're the giant, you're the midget. Conduct yourself accordingly. Adjust your attitude. Drop the arrogance.

Look, I work in medical instruments. I've got the FDA looking over my shoulder. It's a pain in the butt. I've got a choice: I accept it, or I go work somewhere else. I'm not going to get rid of the FDA. If I try to ignore them or defy them, they literally have to power to stop us from selling our product in the US. There are similar, but different, authorities with similar powers in Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, and China (at least). That's just life in our industry.

Lots of governments have restrictions on the behavior of monopolies. Capitalist theoreticians can explain why they are necessary. Microsoft has gotten big enough that the rules apply to them. Deal, or go work for somebody else.

In the particular case of the EU, Microsoft either:
- tried to stonewall them, which is incredibly stupid (see my first paragraph about remembering that they're the big dog and you aren't), or
- didn't have documentation of their own protocols, which is just incredibly incompetent as far as actual software engineering goes.

So which is it? Are you incompetent engineers, or are you trying to get around the EU's judgement against you? If you're trying to get around the EU, the hammer is going to keep falling on you harder... and harder... and harder, until you finally get it: This doesn't work. We have to do what they say. And until you actually do it.

And stop with the whiny pretending that "we didn't understand what they wanted us to do". Microsoft willfully misunderstood. Even the independent expert - the one that Microsoft nominated - knows that Microsoft hasn't done what the courts asked. So put down the kool-aid and stop with the pity party about how poor MS is being picked on by the greedy EU. You called the dance, now you get to pay the piper.

MSS

NAS said...

You mean like implementing PDF document creation in your software package? Oh, hang on, creating PDFs is easy, because it's an open, well documented standard.

Woo woo! Clue train is here, last stop is you.

No one said a thing about document formats or Adobe's VOLUNTARY decision to publish its standards (while still controlling the format completely). Hit yourself with a rock and drink this point in: Copy source folks (and their bureaucrat symps) are with whinging that Microsoft won't show them all its source code when the only reason they want access to it is so they can gut Microsoft's revenue with a free copy of SMB/CIFS that adds (literally) nothing. It's Microsoft's product, they invested years in it, and you would think that the closed source people who constantly sneer at the knuckle-dragging quality of Microsoft code could come up with something better. Uh, guess not. As with OpenOffice, GIMP, Linux itself, copying someone's homework is always easier than doing your own.

It would be like Microsoft demanding to see Netscape's HTML engine source so they could make a compatible browser (or Netscape's source so they could make an IPX stack).

Enjoy your ride on the clue train. Drinks and snacks are available in the restaurant car.

NAS said...

Uh, change the second Netscape to Netware.

Anonymous said...

What do you ask during an informational to help make sure you're talking to a great team, not a miserable one?

1) Ask how many times the interviewers' features have been redesigned/DCR'ed by PM. It's one thing to not have beer parties on Friday, but it's another thing to have weeks or months of your hard work invalidated because your PMs do not have the skill or inclination to design something correctly the first time.

2) Ask what value the team is bringing to the end user. If the answer starts out with "technology" or "platform" then the team has its head up its butt. If you're not doing something that your grandma can understand, you're in for years of reorgs, changing priorities, slipped schedules, no accountability, painful relationships with other groups, and zero job satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft should follow the advice of one of their partners. Even Intel is starting to realize that too many managers is bad.

http://news.com.com/Intel+axes+1%2C000+managers/2100-1014_3-6093843.html?tag=nefd.lede

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can take a hint from Intel:

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/060713/intel_management_cuts.html?.v=4

Uh, Steve... are you listening?

Collision Domain said...

Ballmer is a rascal, but he was much worse when working side-by-side with billg every day. In my opinion they did so in sort of a mean-spirited and juvenile way - that game unfortunately ran into extra innings. Today, with Bill more scarce, and Ballmer having to relate more to Ozzie and Mundie, we may see a different type of CEO to emerge. I'm holding my breath.

Hopefully we all won't pass out waiting for a large management and leadership change. Microsoft's management culture is just plain broken, and leadership's recognition of the problem is to throw more stuff up on HRweb and hope it sticks.

Like Mini, I'm joining the conversation about how to improve Microsoft, but focusing on the management and leadership issues the company has.

Smaller isn't always better in my opinion, but better-managed and led always is.

Anonymous said...

Mini-Intel is in progress
http://news.com.com/Intel+to+ax+1%2C000+managers/2100-1014_3-6093843.html?tag=nefd.lede

Wow... Intel made the move and is firing 1000 managers.

"This step is important because it addresses a key problem we've found in our efficiency analysis: slow and ineffective decision-making, resulting, in part, from too many management layers,"

When will this happen at Microsoft?
We are waiting....

Anonymous said...

Wish I'd have asked any one of these Q's to my old team. (I'm in a much better group now, making more, and working as a v-)

When and where was your last team event? Work is a team event, is it not?
Oh, you mean one of those lame 'Morale' events? One where more than half the people went and were not openly questioned in 1:1 afterwards why they didn't come in on the wknd to make up the time?

Who on the team had a birthday recently?
Birthdays? Are you kidding me? Who cares?
To answer your question - Bdays were NEVER recognized other than by co-workers.
We had a team member criticized in a meeting for taking too long a vacation on his honeymoon. He left shortly thereafter for a MUCH better job.

When is the last time you worked a weekend?

Uhh, you mean there are teams that don't? (Actually there are teams don't abuse their peons this way, just not very many it seems)

When is the last time you worked through dinner? Was the rest of the team there? Was dinner provided?

All the time. Only those who did not want to be trashed in the next mtg. NEVER ONCE!! NOT ONCE IN 4 YEARS!

What you really want, I think, is a peek at the manager feedback results from the last review cycle. Does HR make those available internally?

I don't think HR even reads them, or they'd have turfed out a lot of boss-types in a certain group, a long time ago.


The really sad thing is not that each person from that group would recognize this, but that there are more than a few from other groups that think it might be their group.


Here's a few more Q's you might want to ask:
Do you (boss type person)take vacations? There are some who don't and they think no one else should either.

How many people left this group in the last 2 yrs?

Of those who left, how many went to other MS teams? How many left MS?

How many have transferred here from other groups in the last 2 yrs?

How many SDE/SDET/PMs?

What's the biggest non-technical challenge this coming yr for the group?

Now one that will require Wonder Woman's Gold rope of truth to extract an honest answer:
How many people in your group have requested permission to interview out of the group?

And the follow up:
How many are not allowed to interview out until Vista ships?

Anonymous said...

Like so many softies, I've been on my team since I was a college hire. I'm looking for something different and I'm doing informationals for my first time. But I realize that I don't really know what to look for. I've certainly got my own ideas, but there's enough collective wisdom and cynicism that it couldn't hurt to ask :)

when looking for a new job there are two things i look for - something that actually interests me and I will have an opportunity to learn from and secondly someone I really respect and admire. In terms of order its person first, product second. There is no point in working on a cool product only to have a ass for a boss or worse still a rest and vest'er. If you dont respect your boss then run as fast as you can.

Lazlo said...

EU ministers would get an earfull and probably come back trying to make nice with their tail between their legs.

Yes, Europe is well-known for its eagerness to kowtow to Americans who throw their weight around. Really, all MSFT has to do to solve its "European Problem" is put Ballmer on a jet-set tour of all the EU capitals to scream himself red-faced at the locals and toss a few chairs at things -- you'll have the entire continent eating out of your freakin' hands.

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting news about RIF, actually Reduction in Command (RIC), at Intel. Guess MS can borrow a page from Intel's playbook.

http://news.com.com/Intel+to+ax+1%2C000+managers/2100-1014_3-6093843.html?tag=nefd.lede

Anonymous said...

Yes, the EU mess doesn't seem fair. Although most of the software and tech industry is a mess. It's all about money, patents and lawsuits, and sometimes even MSFT get unrighfully drawn into the heat as the victim.

Customer might be king, but money rules. As someone said above, MSFT prime goal is to make money, nothing else. Software is just a necessary evil to get to the money.

Most MS devs on this forum that nags about the management just don't get it. You shouldn't expect any major change internaly. You are just there to make sure management pockets get filled, nothing else. If your'e smart enough to work the system, you might get some extra scraps from the table.

Don't fool yourself, software is no longer about "innovation" as in new technology, it's "innovation" as how to get the customers to pay as much they can for offers they just can't refuse. Isn't the best customers those who pay up and shut up?

My self? Well, I really just look forward to the day when i can come home with my MSFT car to my MSFT house and watch the MSFT sponsored news on my MSFT media center sitting in my MSFT sofa and drink some of that nice MSFT kool-aid.

Life just suck sometimes, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Now when you Microsofties start talking like this:
...snip...
that provides the EU and other such large organizations the incentive to do just that.

Talk about missing the point. I'd be ecstatic if they did that, even if they used the MS fine to fund it. Why? Because it at least offers a shot at improving the state of the art and an incentive for everyone, including MS, to try to better that design.

Appropriating an existing design by governmental fiat without recompense is just crass thievery.

Anonymous said...

Another way to get around the EU fine is to have European companies buy directly from an US address or from an offshore location. This is similar to what online gambling companies do to get around the US gambling laws.


That might be a good idea for a company that does not care for the law. If you practised a little humility you might not be in such a situation.

Anonymous said...

That might be a good idea for a company that does not care for the law. If you practiced a little humility you might not be in such a situation.

Why is it breaking the law? Microsoft pulls out of Europe and if European companies want to buy their products, they have to buy it in the U.S., Asia, Africa or the Middle East and take it home. Microsoft could care less about who is buying it or what country they plan to use it in. You will quickly find the European countries changing their tune with they start to lose the tax revenue.

People want Microsoft to be humble and just give EU what they want. I applaud Ballmer for telling EU to stick it. He should be damn proud of the company he and the rest of them envisioned and build. EU is planning to go after Intel and Qualcomm next. Are these companies supposed to bend over for the good of Mother Europe?

Anonymous said...

>> "He'd better hurry, the entire city of Munich is migrating to linux, server to desktop."
>
> Yeah, how many years late is that project so far?

Zero years late, why do you ask?

...I Am Not Robert Scoble said...

(dead air)

Obviously...

Anonymous said...

What people aren't recognizing is that we can't threaten to do what Apple did.

Apple runs its own show from hardware to software. They can threaten to pull out with only consideration of their bottom line.

One of the reasons Microsoft has been so successful is that they have a robust eco-system of software partners, hardware vendors, consultants, etc.

The amount of damage that would be done if we pulled out would cost us much more than $570 million, and would destroy our European business.

What we need is the President and Congress to step up and deal with them.

The challenge is with the trials and tribulations in the Middle East and North Korea, we need the Europeans on our side, which they know.

They're forcing arbitrary restrictions, forcing us to develop products that people aren't interested in because they can.

As any lottery winner can tell you, when people find out you have alot of money, everybody wants their piece.

Heaven forbid you should give some away (i.e. Sun, Novell, etc.), this is effectively blood in the water for the sharks looking for a free payday.

And the thing is, because the guy getting screwed is a 'rich guy', noone really cares. They can afford it, they've got b/millions.

Anonymous said...

Most MS devs on this forum that nags about the management just don't get it. You shouldn't expect any major change internaly. You are just there to make sure management pockets get filled, nothing else. If your'e smart enough to work the system, you might get some extra scraps from the table.

Viva la revolucion!

This sounds like you're half-way into a pitch for communism.

Microsoft is a public company, and yes in a capitalistic society the goal is to generate revenue.

It is ,however, a *publicly traded* company. This means that it is not just about making money, it's also about public perception.

So, yes, comrade, there is a focus on lining pockets, but doing so at the expense of others for an extended period of time is just bad business.

Anonymous said...

"Zero years late, why do you ask?"

Try educating yourself:

Munich's Linux migration slips to 2006

"The city of Munich will not start its migration to Linux on the desktop until 2006, a year later than planned and three years since it decided to go with the open-source operating system."

Anonymous said...

"As any lottery winner can tell you, when people find out you have alot of money, everybody wants their piece."

Yet another reason why MSFT should be more aggressive in returning that money to its owners (shareholders) or making accretive acquisitions vs simply hording it. The latter is a very poor use of the funds and as you suggest, attracts vultures.

Anonymous said...

Cracks me up to see all the "you microsofties just don't get it" comments.

The common theme I see in the "pull out of Europe" and "wish management would change" threads is that a bunch of people at MSFT are tired of dealing with bullshit. Tired of dealing with the theiving bumblecrats of the EUC, tired of dealing with the "super-excited by all this integrated innovation" managers, tired of dealing with plans that don't work and planners who can't do any better.

The phrase is "flipping the bit" and I think there are a lot of devs flipping the bit on things.

Anonymous said...

Just a mild reminder to those americans who think europe is still living in the dark ages:
GDPs.

Pulling out of europe? Are you guys nuts? It would not only be a huge loss of business, it would kill the Windows/MS Office dominance, with Microsoft not yet having an replacement cash cow. (Please mind, that to kill the monopoly, its enough, if Office drops to a 80-85% market share - see browsers, there is no way to leverage the still massive IE use anymore.)

TD

Anonymous said...

"This sounds like you're half-way into a pitch for communism."

Lt. Minderbinder, I did not write the blog to which you responded but I could not help but notice your astute observation. Yes, many corporations do resemble communism in their internal structure designed to create wealth. But the system it is built on Capitalism was never meant to become such a perversion

Capitalism (of which I am a supportor over the other now defunct system of the last Century) is more fragile than you know, and in reality, it is much like a flower, dependent on a lot of perfect conditions in order to prosper, one of which is good will toward your fellow man which in the end, if missing will route you out and cause a lot of people both inside and out to suffer great difficulty.

To all of you softies out there preaching the dangerous mantra, while Lt. Minderbinder is an altruistic rogue, the darkness leads to a less obvious character, that of Aarfy Aardvark, where you lose all sense of reality and perception, speaking from a corner in a dimly lit room of your next optimistic rationalization.

Anonymous said...

You Ain't Gonna Learn What You Don't Wanna Know

Problems at MS won't be fixed as long as our management doesn't want them to be problems.

Here's a great example of fixing a problem:

http://andymonfried.blogspot.com/2006/07/lowest-common-showerhead.html

Anonymous said...

People want Microsoft to be humble and just give EU what they want. I applaud Ballmer for telling EU to stick it.

Maybe this makes sense in your Redmond bubble world but the EU has to take a broader view. Why are you so enthusiastic about stifling the European economy?

EU is planning to go after Intel and Qualcomm next. Are these companies supposed to bend over for the good of Mother Europe?

I don't know what Qualcomm did but hopefully the EU can stick it to Intel. Intel has been using its leverage to prevent resellers and government agencies from buying AMD. It's illegal... why do you think they should get away with it without being punished?

Anonymous said...

My comments on How to Fix Microsoft in Five (Not So) Easy Steps :

1. Being humble, because MSFT is so arrogant. MSFT thinks that it's above everyone else. 2. Start being customer-centric, not manager-centric, in other words, work for your customers, not for your managers. Anyone who has worked in MSFT, knows what I´m talking about. 3. Release 'lighter' products, there is no way that customers from home to enterprise can cope, or buy, with MSFT prices and 'heavier' products every 2-3 years, that besides are only infraestructure, or just looks cool. 4. Push the sales teams to sell partner services and care more about deployment. MSFT is just happy selling licenses. 5. Finally, start working with other companies to bring the benefits of technology to more people. This is something very hard, because MSFT wants the whole world for itself.

PD MSFT, listen : 'Is not about money, is about respect.'

Anonymous said...

The type of simpleton opinion exhibited by MSS above (you're playing with the BIG DOG now, YOU'RE the little guy!), all the while ironically accusing Microsoft of "arrogance", perfectly illustrates why it is nearly impossible to have a rationale and meaningful dialogue on the web.

Can anyone really be so pathetically naive to think that business and politics are painted in black and white terms where there are "good guys" and "bad guys" and "little guys" and "big dogs"?

Here's a little clue for you. Governments *supposedly* exist to represent their citizens. So they are *not* supposed to be a "big dog" but rather are *supposed* to be a "watch dog". The unfortunate reality is that governments exist primarily to line their own pockets and cater to special interests.

In the case of the EU, MSFT is basically a cash cow that can help fund the pathetically flagging economies of much of Western Europe which have all suffered undering increasing entitlement programs designed to appease the utopian left that has somehow taken control of the continent. In addition, the absolute blind hatred Euros feel towards the Bush administration and the frothing rage they direct at the US in general (since the US really represents the living embodiment of the sins that EUROPE has committed against the world) is a big part of what fuels this fire.

MSFT, for its part, is a typical big corporation. To attempt to anthropomorphize it and assign it a "personality" quality like "arrogance", is basically to scream "I am a moron!" from on high. MSFT, like any corporation, exists to create shareholder value by making money. And as big, world conquering (some left-winger fear mongering there), super corps go, MS has actually done an amazingly bad job of "playing ball".

When you dig into the real meat of these issues, you find that you hit bone immediately. Lunatics that base the meaning of their life on fighting "evil" as represented by a software company really need to take a nice dive off a cliff. For regular folks, the "damage" represented by Microsofts aggressive tactics is unquantifiable. Of course everyone and their mother hops on a class action lawsuit, but the job of Microsofts supposedly big bad lawyers was to make sure that NO MONOPOLY CHARGE COULD EVER STICK. Because it's a patently ridiculous charge to anyone rational. Now that they've failed miserably in that task, pandoras box is open.

Anything goes once a company has been found to be a monopoly. Particulary ridiculous since, as the press/ABMs/and Open Source holy warrior zealots love to gleefully cackle, MSFT is on the ropes from Linux, Apple and Google even as they pay the price of being a "monopoly".

To summarize... Life is about money and power. The situation between MSFT and the EU is a perfect example of opportunists (EU) seeing an opportunity at a money grab and a free ticket to reelection. If Euros would wake up and realize that the real threat to their existance is the fact that their society is being coopted by an endless flood of Islamic immigrants who despise them and want nothing more than to transform their society (Van Gogh murder anyone?), and as a result, the insane anti-US hatred prevalent there were to cool, you'd see a quick settlement.

Right now the easy ticket to reelection in Europe is to appear like a "badass" doing "righteous battle" against the "evil" US and George Bush.

If any EU governing body gave even the SLIGHTEST care about their people they would address their OWN massive anti-trust issues (that they conveniently ignore as Euro companies merge across borders), their insane entitlement systems that are bleeding countries dry and leading to double-digit unemployment, and the staggering problem they have with immigration.

Limulus said...

> this post is a reality check for Linux / Ubuntu fans thinking they are going to supplant Windows any day now. [...] But everyday folk? Nope. Not even for saving $100.

I have installed Ubuntu on (formerly) Windows machines for people who are not very computer literate and they have no problem running it; the main problem for widespread Linux adoption as far as I can tell is that "everyday folk" do not install operating systems :) they come preinstalled and preconfigured 'free' when they buy a computer ;) Thus the real competition will come when you can buy computers with Linux preinstalled and preconfigured from well-known manufacturers and actually see a difference is the sticker price compared to Windows models...

Anonymous said...

Intel has jumped on the Mini bandwagon.

http://news.com.com/Intel+to+ax+1%2C000+managers/2100-1014_3-6093843.html

Anonymous said...

Viva la revolucion!

This sounds like you're half-way into a pitch for communism.


Damn! I'm labeled as a "commie" again. I who actually have three..., no, four legal and paid for copies of Windows. See why i'm depressed? I'm not even a good comerade.

I actually hinted in the previous post that i thought MSFT was unrighfully forced to open it's protocols. If they broke any antitrust laws (i know they have in the past), i think a fine is right, but not to make them open up any protocols. I don't know what's going on on that really. I trust EU staff as much as i trust MSFT management.

But you're missing the point, and i will now explain it to you all in a very f***ing American capitalistic way...

I don't mind paying MSFT money for good f***ing software. I do mind they telling me how i should f***ing use it. I do mind they telling me i don't f***ing own what i bought from them. Lastly, i do mind them making it f***ing hard for me to integrate their f***ing stuff to other f***ing stuff i need to integrate with.

Yes! I know that all this is in the f***ing license agreement, but it still f***ing pisses me off!!

Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

"I don't mind paying MSFT money for good f***ing software. I do mind they telling me how i should f***ing use it. I do mind they telling me i don't f***ing own what i bought from them. Lastly, i do mind them making it f***ing hard for me to integrate their f***ing stuff to other f***ing stuff i need to integrate with.

Yes! I know that all this is in the f***ing license agreement, but it still f***ing pisses me off!!

Have a nice day!"


Ahh, shear poetry to my ears.

Anonymous said...

Of course everyone and their mother hops on a class action lawsuit, but the job of Microsofts supposedly big bad lawyers was to make sure that NO MONOPOLY CHARGE COULD EVER STICK.

No, that was just incredible, incredible stupidity on MS' part. If MS had been greasing the appropriate palms (i.e. political contributions) like their competitors, their anti-trust push would never have gotten off the ground.

Hell, look at IBM. They ruled the computing world with an iron fist, in a way that MS is only a pale imitation of, for a couple of *decades* and the DoJ never got a anti-trust charge to stick.

Anonymous said...

>I do mind they telling me i don't f***ing own what i bought from them.

I hate to break it to you, but you don't f***ing own it. The people who wrote it do and you're paying them to let you use it.

The same applies to OSS. You can use and the authors, by their choice of license, are even kind enough to let you change or add to it all you want, but you don't f***ing own anything other than the piece you added.

If you've got a problem with that, f***ing take it up with f***ing Congress.

NAS said...

Zero years late, why do you ask?

Yay, more Linux nerds. Seriously, if you're this uninformed, how can you even be a worthwhile Linux/OSS advocate? Even the astroturf zombies would eat you for lunch, kid. Maybe Mini chose not to bounce your ignorant remarks as an example to others.

Not only is the Munich jump to Linux more like an alcoholic stagger, late and tremendously over budget (in fact over the budget of just buying more software from Microsoft), but the original plan called for running masses of Microsoft apps using WINE. Not exactly what you'd call a total makeover, eh? Even by the conservative standards of the original goals, they're failing miserably--proving all those TCO studies right.

Linux triumphs on the desktop once again! (cough)

Anonymous said...

"The city of Munich will not start its migration to Linux on the desktop until 2006, a year later than planned and three years since it decided to go with the open-source operating system."

Yeah, but basically on track (at least by Microsoft standards.) Once its rolled out, it will become the gold standard for how to deploy linux front to back. The world will be beating a path to Munich's door just like they (still do) beat a path to Microsoft's door. What can Microsoft learn? Microsoft's focus has been features, greater complexity and getting customers locked into the product stack. Customers want solutions that 'just work'. There is a big gulf between Microsoft's commercial ambitions and 'just works'. I am in complete favor of Microsoft shipping a 'stripped' product set. I would feel like I was getting a great brand at a fair price - and I would be able to get my work done. (Oh, and Microsoft's internal developers would have a LOT more fun developing these products than some of the leviathan projects they're working on now.)

Anonymous said...

Limulus, that day has already come. At Fry's their lowest budget computers run linux, but it doesn't make a difference.

I consider myself very computer literate, and linux is just downright difficult to use. The user experience is a complete joke, have you ever tried to install software on one of those things?

Anonymous said...

Yes! I know that all this is in the f***ing license agreement, but it still f***ing pisses me off!!

Comrade - perhaps you need a good shot of Vodka. It will help calm you down. Das Vidanya

Anonymous said...

Yes! I know that all this is in the f***ing license agreement, but it still f***ing pisses me off!!

Thanks for keeping your profanity general and not aiming it at any individuals. I like this blog in its current iteration. by all means, rant away ...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I don't want Microsoft to go open source. I mean I do, but I don't. I would like a clean light MS OS, but if you were to offer it open source, the only way you could capitalize on that would be to sell it bundled in hardware, which I would rather you didn't, because having tens of thousands of system builders and computer manufacturers using your software has always been a great equalizer. So why don't you do a clean distro, sell it real cheap (under $50) with a bunch of bundled toys, but do like you are doing with ODF only with all the file formats. Keep the code proprietary, but allow everything to read write to it.

Don't yell at me, I'm not a code writer, just a customer. The advantage would be a product that would work with everything. That is really all anybody/everybody wants.

Anonymous said...

"Hell, look at IBM. They ruled the computing world with an iron fist, in a way that MS is only a pale imitation of, for a couple of *decades* and the DoJ never got a anti-trust charge to stick."

Excuse me? Google is your friend. Ignorance is not. Read the 1956 consent decree and the 1984 undertaking. They completely changed IBM and allowed its many competitors to take advantage of IBM's former strength as never before.

What's more, the lengthy litigation in the 1970s-1980s (12 years!) almost led to the breakup of IBM and certainly led to IBM being much, much less bold and innovative than it had been.

Microsoft got off way easy.

Anonymous said...

'Fix Microsoft in N ... ways'?

I'm confident, but not that confident.

How about a few tips for our executive management?

#1: If you see a lot of people doing something, there's probably a reason. For example, were I to have 30 minutes to talk privately to SteveB, I'd claim that the company he sees from his vantage point is very different from the company down in the trenches. Why? Microsoft executives and their entourages are shameless sycophants. They tell you what you want to hear, not the truth. Those status reports? Mostly lies mixed in with bits of truth. Why in the world would they do this? If it were one person, perhaps it's their nature. However, when its as pervasive as it is at MS, you should stop and realize that sycophancy is rewarded at Microsoft.

#2: Knock it off with the idiotic projects that will never make a dime. Especially the worst offenders, where you still employ hordes of people while the products go nowhere. Those people aren't surviving in their jobs because of their products successes. It must be something else? (I don't know what.) I'm not saying "don't look for new revenue streams". You have to do that. However, you're making really bad decisions. Let's compare your record on risk-taking against Sand Hill Road's cumulative record. Learn and adopt more of a true startup environment for these projects, right down to great autonomy, close-to-zero-budget, the need to continue to sell the idea to get 'funded', and the potential for huge reward for those who make it happen anyway. You don't have any incentives for your employees anymore anyway (incentives to do more than 'a good job'; to really put their soul into their job). Personal gain translates into incentive. (You really need to do something for incentive. The troops are working for their paychecks today (i.e. 9-5, despite towels). There isn't a love affair with Microsoft. If that incentive means more risk for them, so be it. Those who fear all risk can definitively reap fewer rewards.)

#3: Oh, I beg of you: Stop the idiotic every-few-years Strategic Technology Initiative announcements! Haven't you figured it out? Those suck-up subordinates of yours know that to get you to fund their pet project, if they make it revolve around your Initiative, you'll fund it? (I'll give you a hint: 9 out of 10 of those not only didn't need the Strategic Technology, but would have been better products without it.) Besides, your initiatives have all been duds anyway (though your immediate subordinates would probably never tell you that).

Anonymous said...

Were I to have 30 minutes to talk privately to SteveB, I'd claim that the company he sees from his vantage point is very different from the company down in the trenches. Why? Microsoft executives and their entourages are shameless sycophants.

Right, it was an acceptable state when Microsoft was a monopoly, but now that some major competitors have 'turned the corner' on us, it is working against us. I don't know which philosopher said: 'hell is the absence of reason' but its making life at Microsoft a surreal experience right now.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me? Google is your friend. Ignorance is not. Read the 1956 consent decree and the 1984 undertaking.

Maybe your should understand what your own references say and do not say: IBM never got convicted by the DoJ in their anti-trust action. The charges were dropped in 1982.

I'm also inclined to question the effectivness of the two things you cite, given that the 1956 consent decree comes before the height of IBM's dominance in the '60s and '70s, and the EEC action in 1984 coming as IBM's power was waning because of internal ossification and the nascent microcomputer revolution.

Anonymous said...

>So why don't you do a clean distro, sell it real cheap (under $50) with a bunch of bundled toys, but do like you are doing with ODF only with all the file formats. Keep the code proprietary, but allow everything to read write to it.

Like this? I doubt it would be very popular in the US.

Anonymous said...


So why don't you do a clean distro, sell it real cheap (under $50) with a bunch of bundled toys

Simple, because it would cause profits to plumet, and MSFT stock would drop to the low teens.

Anonymous said...

Pull out of Europe?

That's rich. Remove the company's flagship products from the world's largest economy (collectively the EU is just a tad larger than the US).

What would that say for business confidence? No IT manager or CIO worth their salt would touch a company that might not be in the market in a year. Do people *want* to ignite a revolution to Linux?

Microsoft is committed to the EU, and it must stay that way. Pulling out of markets because of silly decisions (tough it out rather than settle early) is not possible.

Microsoft must suck it up and pay the fine. Someone very senior should be canned over letting it get to this sorry state of affairs.

Mini-Edit said...

I enjoy watching the hypocrisy of the EC as it chases after MSFT for being anti-competitive while the EU funnels billions into Airbus just to keep them afloat. Anyone who thinks the case against MSFT has anything to do with competition is naive. Anyone who believes the spin on the BBC that claims the EC is not mired in politics like its US counterparts is a fool. This is nothing more than the EC screaming “look, we’re relevant” and to prove it they have targeted MS. How many media player-less copies of Windows have sold? And now, after enough vague demands on MS by the EC it looks like their haul on this protection racket will top $1bn and counting. Where does that money go? To prop up MSs inept competitors? Probably not. My bet is it’s all spent on something far more salacious .

Anonymous said...

Some anonymous but verbose person tried to take me to task:

Can anyone really be so pathetically naive to think that business and politics are painted in black and white terms where there are "good guys" and "bad guys" and "little guys" and "big dogs"?

Can anyone really be so pathetically clueless that they think that a corporation is as powerful as a government? When Microsoft becomes a member of NATO, I'll concede the point. Until then, the reality remains: Microsoft is going to have to deal with the EU rather than trying to find ways to evade or ignore the ruling like they have been.

Here's a little clue for you. Governments *supposedly* exist to represent their citizens. So they are *not* supposed to be a "big dog" but rather are *supposed* to be a "watch dog".

True enough, except that the watchdog is big enough that people or entities harming the citizens can't ignore the watchdog. That was my point. MS has been trying to ignore what the EU ruled, and they can't.

In the case of the EU, MSFT is basically a cash cow that can help fund the pathetically flagging economies of much of Western Europe which have all suffered undering increasing entitlement programs designed to appease the utopian left that has somehow taken control of the continent. In addition, the absolute blind hatred Euros feel towards the Bush administration and the frothing rage they direct at the US in general (since the US really represents the living embodiment of the sins that EUROPE has committed against the world) is a big part of what fuels this fire.

MSFT, for its part, is a typical big corporation. To attempt to anthropomorphize it and assign it a "personality" quality like "arrogance", is basically to scream "I am a moron!" from on high.


Wow. So it's stupid to anthropomorphize Microsoft and assign it a personality, but it's not stupid to do the same to Europe? Your logic (and your objectivity) seem a bit faulty here...

I called it "arrogance" based on comments from a number of Microsoft-employees-and-fanboys who were posting on this blog. My post was aimed at individuals posting here, and presumably reading here, rather than at some vaporous "Microsoft the whole company" (as if such an entity would read a blog).

For regular folks, the "damage" represented by Microsofts aggressive tactics is unquantifiable. Of course everyone and their mother hops on a class action lawsuit, but the job of Microsofts supposedly big bad lawyers was to make sure that NO MONOPOLY CHARGE COULD EVER STICK. Because it's a patently ridiculous charge to anyone rational.

As some other anonymous said above, "you ain't gonna learn what you don't wanna know". It's not a patently ridiculous charge to anyone rational; it's patently ridiculous to someone blinded to objectivity and rationality. As I said in my first post, there are reasons why capitalism needs antitrust laws in order to function properly. Take your blinders off, and go learn why those laws exist. When you understand that, then take an objective look at Microsoft and you'll see why the laws apply to them.

Now that they've [Microsoft's lawyers] failed miserably in that task, pandoras box is open.

Anything goes once a company has been found to be a monopoly. Particulary ridiculous since, as the press/ABMs/and Open Source holy warrior zealots love to gleefully cackle, MSFT is on the ropes from Linux, Apple and Google even as they pay the price of being a "monopoly".


And if I were to ask you about what you think the reality is of the ABM zealot's claims, you would (I presume) say that you don't believe a word of it. And I would say that the objective reality is that the inroads are negligible (except Google; they own a space that Microsoft wants to take over). It's rather weird to defend your position with other people's statements that (I assume) you disagree with!

But, yes, pandora's box is open for Microsoft. On the other hand, it was open before this. Stac, for instance. Hmm, maybe the issue isn't Microsoft's legal department messing up. Maybe the problem is that Microsoft's management has placed the legal department in an indefensible position, and even MS's legal department can't save them.

To summarize... Life is about money and power. The situation between MSFT and the EU is a perfect example of opportunists (EU) seeing an opportunity at a money grab and a free ticket to reelection. If Euros would wake up and realize that the real threat to their existance is the fact that their society is being coopted by an endless flood of Islamic immigrants who despise them and want nothing more than to transform their society (Van Gogh murder anyone?), and as a result, the insane anti-US hatred prevalent there were to cool, you'd see a quick settlement.

Wow. Unbelievable. The EU should give MS a free pass because of Islamic immigration. That's just so insanely twisted I don't even know how to respond.

Let's start with this: A bunch of Islamic immigrants to Europe mean it no good. A much larger bunch mean it no harm. And you, sir, are periously close to being a bigot.

Then, your worldview needs a bit of an adjustment. Even if you think that life is all about money and power, not everyone believes that - including the EU. They seem to have some people there who believe in having a fair playing field, however inconvenient Microsoft may find it. To assign them bad motives for doing so is childish. "If I can't win, the game is rigged!" All I can say is: grow up.

Right now the easy ticket to reelection in Europe is to appear like a "badass" doing "righteous battle" against the "evil" US and George Bush.

If any EU governing body gave even the SLIGHTEST care about their people they would address their OWN massive anti-trust issues (that they conveniently ignore as Euro companies merge across borders), their insane entitlement systems that are bleeding countries dry and leading to double-digit unemployment, and the staggering problem they have with immigration.


The US isn't in a great position to criticise the EU with respect to immigration at this point. As to their entitlement system... yeah, I gotta give you that, but we're closer to it than I like, too. As to antitrust, go look at their record of action against European companies. They don't just act against foreigners. Airbus is the exception, not the rule.

Summary: Whoever this anonymous is, his blinders are on pretty tight...

MSS

PS. Mini, if you feel this is too long, feel free to trim it down to a reasonable length...

Anonymous said...

Amazing to read that you there cannot market your products to the appropriate consumer group effectively. Surely you have enough competent employees and an ad agency like Apple (non flame intended).
There was a post on which developement sales field to focus on, corporations or small businesses and home users. One big problem for the author, we are CASH cutomers not an accouts rec that you have to provide a larger % of support to. This adds to your bottom line not mine. We are smart enough to use the free help you already provide within your help files, kb articles etc...

Customer

Anonymous said...

Performing At Too High A Level

A couple of weeks ago, my manager sat me down in a meeting with our latest HR droid. Apparently, I'm far exceeding every committment and delivering amazing results in every category.

But some of the folks I work with get their feathers ruffled -- mostly when they DON'T deliver, but I'll admit that I'm not a warm fuzzy sort of employee.

Anybody have experience/suggestions on how to deal with this "performance plan" to 1)keep working at a great company, and 2)escape from this demented Mr. Rogers?

I know HR is no help -- but what else works?

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if we shouldn't just tell the EU to fuck off. "Microsoft products aren't for sale in EU contries any more, you're too difficult to do business with."

Ok, I'm European -- chest forward -- give me your best shot.

No seriously, I'm almost completely ignorant about this winding court case, but I do wonder what you're getting so worked up about. My poorly educated guess is that MSFT is attempting a deliberate strategy, aimed at getting away with its breaking the antitrust rules or at least delaying compliance as long as the strategic value of non-compliance is higher than the fines imposed.