‘Pulling a Galli’
HIS is a very significant new chapter in a long saga involving the BBC, which sold out to Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15] and discriminated against Microsoft’s rivals as a result.
Ashley Highfield was one of the main people responsible for this fiasco, which began some time around 2006 when a word came out about BBC conceding Real and going with just Microsoft media formats. That was before iPlayer emerged.
Companies are — truthfully speaking — just a set of people and it’s inevitable that people will be named here. Highfield did his damage inside the BBC, had a former Microsoft employee (Erik Huggers) inherit control and now he moves on to picking up his ‘reward’ — so to speak — from the convicted monopolist.
As director of future media and technology, Highfield cut a controversial figure at the BBC. Reg sources blamed him for the culture of commitees and waste that saw iPlayer development take several years and run millions over-budget. In the last months of his reign a new management team was brought in to rapidly develop a streaming version that has proved much more successful than the unwieldy P2P client he oversaw.
Open source advocates also accused him of being too close to Microsoft…
More Microsoft employees seem to be getting channeled into positions of authority inside the BBC. This is something that’s widely acknowledged by various independent sources, so there is hardly a point in denying it. Glyn Moody writes:
Erik Huggers goes from Microsoft to the BBC, and Highfield goes from the BBC to Microsoft, via Kangaroo. Let’s keep it cosy, eh?
“We have 17.1 million users of bbc.co.uk in the UK and, as far as our server logs can make out, 5 per cent of those [use Macs] and around 400 to 600 are Linux users.”
–Ashley Highfield, BBC at the time (2007)