05.30.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Robotics Chief Tandy Trower Left Microsoft, Entryism Still Eyed at Cisco, AOL (Updated)

Posted in Microsoft at 5:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US Navy - The ex-Oriskany, a decommissioned aircraft carrier

Summary: Another missing piece of the Microsoft exodus (almost everyone with a long history at a high-level rank has left in recent years, except Ballmer)

WE are gradually compiling this large page and an increasingly-long list of major departures from Microsoft. We started doing this in late 2008 and a departure we did not notice at the time it happened is that of Microsoft’s Robotics chief. Mary Jo Foley brought it up some days ago:

Given last year’s departure of Robotics chief Tandy Trower, I’m wondering about Microsoft’s future intentions and directions in the robotics space…

Mary Jo Foley can only hope that Microsoft will appeal to professionals in robotics (she also promotes vapourware at the moment, despite similar fluff to this, never mind if nothing ever came out of it). In this one particular area they are losing to Linux big time. No wonder the managers are leaving, which is never a good sign because it’s statistically correlated to failure. Departures from Microsoft are not necessarily good news however. On the one hand they are a sign that Microsoft is losing, but on the other hand, those who depart can actually cause damage to companies other than Microsoft by twisting and bending those companies in Microsoft’s direction. It’s mostly an HR issue. One failed unit of Microsoft was responsible for phones, devices, and the likes of these. Prior to the departure of J Allard and Robbie Bach [1, 2, 3] it was Enrique Rodriguez who left this team [1, 2]. He was a Vice President. Guess where he ends up? Cisco (see background [1, 2, 3]). He won't be alone.

Enrique Rodriguez, a former exec at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)’s video and music division, is joining Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to take on a key role at the tech giant’s Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPVTG), Light Reading Cable has learned.

Another recent departure from Microsoft is Alex Gounares [1, 2] and finally he explains how or why he left Microsoft to join AOL. He becomes a CTO there.

Why did you decide to move to AOL after so many years with Microsoft?

It really was the opportunity that attracted me here, and it started with a phone call that I got a couple months ago. I started doing my homework, and of course I knew about AOL, obviously being in the industry I had tracked it somewhat, but I hadn’t tracked it in depth. And the company that I saw was an amazing company; it was not the AOL that maybe I had thought of before.

We have already shown (some time earlier this month) the role of Gounares in Microsoft’s abuses at least as a quiet observer.

Update (02/07/10): Tandy Trower contacted us and offered clarifications regarding his departure. With his kind permission, we add these below.

Not certain if this will get through your spam filter, but someone passed on your blog mention of my departure. You may not be interested, but I thought I would provide you with some information regarding my departure.

First, you are correct that robotics development is mostly done on Linux, some on VXWorks or other proprietary OSes. This was actually the case when I proposed to Gates that we develop a robotics toolkit. However, that recommendation came directly from many of the leaders from diverse parts of the robotics community including people using robotics in education, academic research, industrial automation, and even innovators like Helen Greiner of iRobot.

The invitation/encouragement for Microsoft to participate came from people like Red Whittaker, long time robotics veteran and leader of the CMU robotics department and organizer/founder of the CMU DARPA Challenge teams. When Red encouraged Microsoft to get involved, one of the first questions I asked him was why since it was obvious he and other key researchers were not using Microsoft technology and I highly doubted with their investment in Linux based development that they would switch. Red was very clear. It was not to help him or other experts already in the field but the broaden the market. From his perspective (and this was shared by the people I talked to) for robotics to really emerge into its potential required not just the experts to participate but as wide and diverse a community as possible to contribute their creativity. And there simply were not enough tools out there and plenty of room for other alternatives.

While it is true that the toolkit my team created was based on Microsoft OS and tools, we very much tried to build bridges to other toolkits and technologies. For example, the interprocess communication library we defined we published as part of Microsoft’s Open Software Licensing that would enable anyone to create a compatible interface on Linux or other OS. In fact we did have developers who used our libraries to interact with code run on other OSes including Mac and Linux. I even explored doing versions of our core libraries for Linux. I’d be the first to admit we had a long way to go, and never proposed that developers already invested on other platforms convert to using our toolkit. As you might know robots often have multiple processors and so multi-OS solutions are not uncommon. Windows never was a very good OS for real-time programming. Few, including Linux, are. Often very tight processing scenarios an OS isn’t even used but driven by FPGAs as was the case with the UBot-5 created by students in Rod Grupen’s department at UMass Amherst. FPGAs drove the two-wheel dynamic balancing, but they found Windows with the Microsoft robotics layer as a compatible solution.

You are welcome to your own opinion, but my departure from Microsoft was not a failure at my job, unless you want to consider that after Gates’ departure (my original and primary exec sponsor) I was unsuccessful in convincing the executive management that took his place of my next steps in strategy. Given the directive to take the next step beyond the toolkit and define a compelling application solution (since outside industrial applications, entertainment, education, and simple cleaning) robotics still lacks “killer applications”. This is pretty much universally acknowledged by all in or observing the state of the current industry. After looking at several application areas (automotive, military, education, consumer, etc.) I decided that assistive care was not only the best opportunity, but where the technology could applied to the growing number of people needing help in performing normal daily activities. Already according to the reports on disabilities in the US, 25% of the population falls into this category and incurable chronic diseases like autism and Alzheimer’s are actually on the rise. When you add to this that the boomer generation will almost double the number of seniors over the next 20 years, while we are facing an increasing shortage of care providers, I was able to imagine scenarios where a self-mobile PC (aka robot) could be used to make up for the inevitable reduction in cognitive and physical abilities.

For the first time in my 28 years at Microsoft, my proposal wasn’t funded, due in part to the economic conditions that allowed for little new investment. However, I felt so strongly about what many observers characterize as a potential coming care tsunami that I decided to leave and try to do this by creating my own company. Further, despite my 28 years at Microsoft I am open-minded to what tools and platform I build on. The people at Willow Garage will confirm that I have been to visit them and explore their ROS work. To me its a practical matter of determining where the best enabling technologies are. The task of creating a semi-autonomous robot that can enable people to compensate for the deficits of aging, chronic disease, or other severe disabilities will be hard enough without having to develop everything from scratch. As I had done at Microsoft, my intent is to find the best of breed technologies I can license and combine for building this.

What all this means about Microsoft, I’ll leave to your own opinion, but I did want to clarify that I didn’t leave because I had failed in my efforts to start the robotics at Microsoft. The group continues there and has actually grown in number since I left. There’s important work going on. Where they go from here is no longer my concern. I have a new mission and my experience at Microsoft will help me in what I do, though since it has yet to be done by anyone, my chances of success may be remote, but considering the potential impact on addressing the challenges we will be facing not only in this country but around the world (in Asia, EU, and China assistive care ranks as one of the top motivators for robotics research), I do not think my efforts will be wasted.

Best regards,

Tandy Trower
CEO/Founder
Hoaloha Robotics (btw Hoaloha is Hawaiian for compassionate friend)

[...]

You are welcome to post provided you don’t do it in a mean spirited way and take sound bytes to flail with me with. (I am trusting that if that was your purpose, you likely wouldn’t ask for permission to use.)

However, again my departure was no so much triggered by a reduction in the investment in robotics. As mentioned, I believe the organization I founded has actually grown in size since I left. But the primary reason I resigned was to pursue an application scenario that execs there did not wish to invest in (at least for the present). Microsoft is obviously already invested in many different areas already, so it is unclear that management can be faulted for not wanting to invest in the strategy I feel compelled to pursue. Perhaps that may be analogous to J Allard’s departure, but I do not know since I haven’t sat down with J to understand the circumstances of his departure.

I spent 28 years at Microsoft and had the opportunity to help start a number of new things for the company. This is one where we had to part ways.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  2. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  3. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  4. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  5. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  8. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  9. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  10. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  11. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  13. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  14. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  15. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  16. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  17. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  18. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt



  19. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021



  21. Links 24/11/2021: Rust Crisis and Team UPC Still Faking 'Progress'

    Links for the day



  22. Links 23/11/2021: New GNU Parallel and Memories of David H. Adler (Perl, Raku)

    Links for the day



  23. In Light of Fast-Accelerating Deterioration -- Sometimes Weaponisation -- Getting Off the World Wide Web (to the Extent Feasible) Makes You Saner and Less Susceptible to Manipulation, Lies

    Almost no sites are speaking about it (probably because they have no presence on the Internet except on the Web), but it's time to motivate more people to get off the Web, for their own good and for society's sake...



  24. Black Friday SPAM on the World Wide Web: A Reminder That the Web is a Dying Platform, Languishing Due to Marketing and Misinformation

    The junk that overruns the Web this 'Black Friday' week (consumerism 'on steroids') is a good reminder that the Web isn't healthy for the mind anymore; it's mostly spying on people, trying to compel them to buy particular things or vote a certain way



  25. Microsoft-Led Misinformation Campaign About Germany and Munich Reminds Us That Microsoft Hates and Actively Undermines GNU/Linux Adoption

    Regarding the latest moves to GNU/Linux in Germany we have 3 points to make



  26. Links 23/11/2021: Libreboot 20211122, Deepin Linux 20.3, Amazon Linux 2022, and Mabox Linux 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 22, 2021



  28. Links 22/11/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 3.1.11, Microsoft 'Extends' Mesa for Windows

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft's GitHub is Hugely Toxic and It Censors Critics of Corporations or People Sceptical of Those in Power

    Sociopaths have taken over GitHub and control over GitHub (by Microsoft) is being shamelessly misused, just as we’ve warned all along; GitHub is social control media/network for code, asserting control over projects and developers by means of censorship and other sanctions



  30. EPO Staff Engagement Survey Predates the Pandemic and Provides False Assumptions for EPO Policies or Policy-Setting

    The EPO ticks a box for "surveying the staff", but is it actually listening? Is that done often enough? It was last done almost 3 years ago...


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts