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History of Microsoft's “Slog” Against Android Brainchild


Photo from Yoichiro Akiyama (Tokyo, Japan)



Summary: A reader's research-based analysis of Andy Rubin and his bitter experience with Microsoft

GOOGLE made a lot of headlines last week when it unveiled Nexus One. Microsoft is already attacking this product by mocking it, but there is a much longer history there. Our reader investigated this and he reports as follows:

Here's follow up to the Danger fiasco. It's interesting how a little bit of background information is helpful in exhuming a crime from a few innocuous looking pieces of news. Within the unfinished Microsoft Danger failure is the career long epic struggle of its founder. The more you dig into this story, the uglier it gets.

Andy Rubin founded both Danger and Android and, it seems, has been perused by Microsoft his entire career. CNET pointed out the relationship between Rubin, Android and Danger. Wikipedia confirms the relationship and both Andy and Danger's story are an incredible indictment of Microsoft business practices.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Rubin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_Inc.

Wikipedia details Rubin's career working for many companies crushed by Microsoft. He started his career at Apple in 1989, just in time to witness Microsoft's rise to monopoly status at the expense of Apple and many other competitor's superior technology. From Apple's near fatal frying pan, the man jumped into the mobile computing fire, helping to develop the very interesting and ultimately crushed Magic Cap. From there he moved to Artemis Research which became Web TV only to be acquired and wrecked by Microsoft. Then he helped to establish and became president of Danger, where the very cool, Java using Hiptop phone was made, only to see the company bought by Microsoft and himself tossed out. Finally he made Android, which was bought by Google which Microsoft has been trying from the very beginning. Talk about a long, hard slog! Every cool place this guy goes, Microsoft follows and bullies the place under.

Wikipedia also referenced a comprehensive write up of the Microsoft Danger failure by Roughly Drafted. This is worth reading in full.

http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2009/10/15...

All of the usual Microsoft elements are at play in that story including a few BN missed back in October.

http://boycottnovell.com/2009/10/13...

Boycott Novell noted that Microsoft used the occasion to FUD Google and the "cloud" as if Microsoft incompetence were somehow contagious. Microsoft also used their failure to say bad things about rivals Sun and Oracle, equipment they acquired with Danger but were unable to keep up. As Roughly Drafted put it:

"With Microsoft frantically trying to associate its Danger fiasco with everyone else possible in the industry, and particularly upon its direct competitors Sun and Oracle, it failed to point out that an awful lot of enterprise datacenters are running Sun and Oracle, and yet there aren’t regular outages that last for weeks and announce having lost all their users’ data. In fact, the losses Microsoft experienced (and its shoulder shrug response to T-Mobile’s million Sidekick users) are virtually unprecedented in the industry. ... the Danger disaster is a lot closer to Microsoft’s previous fiascos in trying to migrate Sun-based services like HoTMaiL and WebTV to Windows than with the occasional service interruptions that impact other cloud services. "

While the truth of the matter may never really be known, an inside source from Danger filled in some of the missing pieces:

"the real problem was that a Microsoft manager directed the technicians performing scheduled maintenance to work without a safety net in order to save time and money. The insider reported, ' This was done against the objections of Danger engineers.'"

You know the rest, kaboom, everything is overwritten. One prominent victim blogged the average user's perspective:

http://perezhilton.com/2009-10-09...

"Not being able to access our emails and phone numbers for AN ENTIRE WEEK has severely affected our ability to work and communicate with our friends and family! For us, our Sidekick has been an integral part of our work life for over four years...."

So there you have the usual Microsoft incompetence and blame shifting, next comes denial. Par for the course, Microsoft screwed up and then tried to make everyone else look bad. Pressed with the reality that one million users were hosed, they had to admit a problem but that did not last long! Roughly Drafted, after some more interesting historical perspective, describes the miracle that came next:

"How does Microsoft back itself out of this crisis? How about denial. Foley also reported that Microsoft has now announced (but not yet delivered) a reversal of its earlier summation that all of Danger’s data was lost. ... If Microsoft strings along users long enough, it will be able to pat itself on the back with a “mission accomplished” even if it ultimately never actually delivered anything."

So, what was delivered besides the month old tape backup previously announced and the October 15th promise?

More FUD for Google http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft... and more FUD for Google http://ces.cnet.com/8301-31045_1... http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2009/10... An attack on the prominent victim http://gawker.com/5373960/perez-hilton... More denial of this "temporary T-Mobile Sidekick data loss" http://www.techflash.com/seattle/...

Several lawsuits have been launched over this, one in late November. http://www.techfirm.com/home/class-action... http://pulse2.com/category/maureen-thompson/ http://www.databreaches.net/?p=8799

If the data came back, no one says so. The people filing suit don't seem to know it. I can't find any mention of it since December, let alone a first person report of data resurrection. As Roughly Drafted predicted, the promise of data recovery has been echoed as an actual data recovery. The device was put back on sale, who would buy one when they could have an iPhone, an Android, a Palm Pre or any other nicer phone? The next move in the Microsoft play book is to settle the cases out of court and shut everyone up. Time will tell.


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