04.01.09

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(Former) Microsoft Employee Tells Why the Company is Doomed, Moves to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Windows at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gold figure
Victory

ONE particular new thread that caught people’s attention began with this revelation: “You know what scared ME from using Windows? Working for Microsoft for 14 years, 4 of them in the Windows division. One of the reasons I left the company (other than the over-abundance of incompetent people) was the lack of confidence I had in Microsoft’s ability to deliver a quality OS — and they proved it with Vista.

Onwards in this thread there is a fascinating look at the company’s internal problems and this joins a series of examples where Microsoft employees simply switch to GNU/Linux.

Another interesting inside story comes from the following separate comment: [hat tip: David Gerard]

The 1998 antitrust trial had a significant morale impact within the company and cost them something like three dozen senior executives (both Myrvolds, Silverberg, etc). Then msft responded to the permatemps lawsuit by firing _all_ temporary workers (many of which had been there for a decade), which turned out to hose their build system so badly they stopped being able to compile Windows 2000 shortly after its release. (XP was literally the result of the Windows Millenium development team being tasked with taking the NT4 source, backporting as much of Windows 2000 as they could get to compile, and making it pretty.) Then msft stock tanked in 2000 (because they copied Cisco’s pooling method of acquisitions and triggered an SEC rule that prevented their stock buyback program from disguising the dilution inherent in their stock option income tax benefit) and has been flat ever since (really, the stock’s peak was back at the start of 2000) so everybody who was there for the money left. Then Google started seriously raiding them and hiring away everybody with a brain around 2003. Then Gates saw 4 gig memory wall and corresponding switch to 64 bit hardware coming (with a corresponding 8 bit cp/m -> 16 bit dos -> 32 bit windows operating system transition) and decided to retire rather than fight it.

The Vista death march (taking 7 years to ship crap) was a side effect of all this, but of course it made it worse by burning out most of their remaining competent engineers. Then the Yahoo acquisition caused everybody to lose faith in Ballmer, so a big “employees vs management” vibe cropped up (blaming him for everything from the stock price to the loss of towels in the company gym). Then the economy cratered and MS started missing its numbers for the first time in over 20 years.

Earlier this year, even mini-msft announced he was considering leaving the company. From a human resources perspective, they are _deeply_screwed_, and it’s not a new thing. it’s been festering for about ten years now.

Of course none of those affect their real source of power, which is their lock on the distribution channels. Nobody wants Vista, but you can’t buy a machine from Frys that hasn’t got it preinstalled. (You can’t even upgrade most of ‘em to XP, you MUST buy Vista if you buy that hardware.) That’s the heart of the microsoft monopoly; preinstalls. Always has been.

This, however, is beginning to change. There are fascinating times ahead and Microsoft’s current plan revolves around software patents (i.e. taxing competitors), simply because it doesn’t know how else to compete and generate high profit that’s necessary to maintain products and sustain vital workforce.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    April 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Whenever you see an M$ product or service, it’s only necessary to look around for what it is a copy of and take that instead.

    Choice quote from another leaving the flock, “Stop looking over your shoulder and invent something!”

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=6900322

    The perception has transitioned to general acceptance as fact that,
    “… Microsoft as a paranoid, untrustworthy, greedy, petty, and politically inept organization …”

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