RCP Story Sets Off Fourth of July Fireworks
It's very rare in the RCP Update that we congratulate ourselves, but
it's worth noting this week that Executive Editor Anne Stuart's story
on dealing with Microsoft haters in the July 2006 issue of RCP has struck
a nerve in the IT and partner communities.
Not only has the story obliterated all records for hits on a single link
on our Web site in record time, it has also made a splash in other places
on the Web as well.
Unfortunately, because the story also ran on Microsoft
Certified Professional magazine's site, a couple of linkers have
identified the story as an MCPmag.com story. While that's an easy
mistake to make (and while we love MCPmag, too), we'd like everyone
to know that this story is all RCP—and it's intended to help
Microsoft partners deal with those people who might serve as roadblocks
in potential deals because they just can't stand the Pride of Redmond.
What the story is not is pro-Microsoft, as the first Ars Technica link
unfortunately suggests. Helping partners overcome anti-Microsoft feelings
among customers shouldn't be confused with taking a pro-Microsoft stance.
(We strive in the magazine and in this newsletter—although the newsletter
is intentionally more provocative—to take a balanced approach to
covering Microsoft.) Then again, there are a lot of opinionated readers
who consider anything that doesn't use every other word to bash Redmond
to be "pro-Microsoft."
And that in itself is an interesting point to ponder. While the reader
survey that helped us put together our brand-new (pun intended) July issue
(more shameless self-promotion here: http://rcpmag.com/issue/)
indicated that the Microsoft hater seems to be a slowly dying (or at least
shrinking) breed, it's still no less vocal a breed than it has always
been. With Microsoft itself clearly in transition and a new generation
of leadership stepping in, it'll be interesting to follow how the image
of the company morphs and changes.
Some sort of serious competitor (as in, something more organized than
the open-source movement and more pervasive than Apple's wares) in the
operating system and office suite spaces would at least give us a basis
for comparison as to how well Redmond is really doing in developing the
software that runs the world's computers. That could either lead to a
greater appreciation of Microsoft's offerings or a mass realization—outside
the faithful Linux and Mac communities—that we could have had so
much better all this time.
Also, Ray Ozzie and whoever replaces Steve Ballmer when Ballmer does
eventually leave will play a huge role in changing the face of the company
so closely tied to the name Bill Gates. The new generation in Redmond
has an opportunity to soften the still somewhat arrogant, blustery image
of the company (often reinforced by Ballmer's personality) and maybe placate
some of those who have—in many cases justifiably—been so critical
of Microsoft over the years. Plus, we'd like to see Microsoft make a more
serious move toward openness and run a little less roughshod over standards
and the input of the rest of the industry. Oh, and getting stuff out on
time wouldn't hurt, either.
Still, some of the bashing of Microsoft that's out there seems more bitter
than useful. And for partners who make money off of Redmond's wares, it
can still be poison. Maybe that's why Anne's story got such a quick and
passionate response—a few Fourth of July fireworks before the day
And on that note, there will be only one edition of RCP Update next week,
on Thursday. Have a great Fourth. And for our readers not in the U.S.,
have a great Tuesday of next week.
How would you like to see Microsoft's image change? Tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org
column was originally published in our weekly
Redmond Partner Update newsletter. To subscribe,
Maybe The Better Question is Whether Business
Only kidding...there's a lot of great content to be found there.
But, placing Steve Ballmer at the top of a list of 10 technology executives
who no longer matter seems both a little premature and a lot over-provocative.
What were we saying about Microsoft bashing? Nevertheless, there's some
thought-provoking stuff here:
Office Comes Alive; WinFS is Still Dead
Good news—there's an online preview of Office 2007. I haven't checked
it out yet, but I'd be grateful if some of you would and report back to
Not so good news—we told you here on Monday that WinFS was on the
Well, now it's official: WinFS really is dead. Really.
Redmond Edges In on Adobe's Territory
After PDFgate (let's see whether that one gets any traction: http://rcpmag.com/reports/article.aspx?editorialsid=157
), Microsoft has stepped up its competition with Adobe by purchasing a
maker of photo management tools:
Held Up in a Dallas Airport: Best of the Martin
Taylor Reader E-Mails
Poor Martin Taylor. He probably doesn't deserve all the speculation that's
been going around as to why he's no longer with Microsoft.
And we're not the only ones speculating.
(Thanks to Andreas for the link.)
But, while we're at it, here's some of your pure speculation (because,
again, we don't know what happened) as to why Martin and Microsoft parted
ways. (Please note that, thanks to your active participation, I am now
getting too many e-mails to run them all in RCP Update. It's tough to
pick and choose, but I'll have to do the best I can.)
On a serious note, a former Microsoftie offered this thought-provoking
"A quick dismissal at his level is almost always because he took
an unpopular stand versus someone with a large ego. There are untouchables
at the company and crossing them is never, ever wise. Soon after your
windmill tilting you'll find everyone moving away from you, your participation
in meetings unnecessary, your direct manager OOF when you need them. With
little ability to succeed you simply surrender."
Wow, that's a pretty damning assessment of what's going on inside the
ivory tower of the software industry. I have to admit that my thoughts
were running along the same lines—but, then again, we don't know
Another ex-Remonder offered this: "Here's a quote from someone inside:
"I am not sure—everything is very hush hush." That usually
meant something serious, like an HR violation or something worse."
That was my other suspicion, too. And if that's the case, we'll probably
never know what happened.
Back on the "fun" side of things, Jonathan offers a medical
reason for departure: "He went for a company physical and it was
discovered he had a heart?"
Yee-owch. But that's pretty funny.
Ed gives us a dose of pop culture with his e-mail: "Maybe he watched
Toby Keith's "Stays in Mexico" video too many times and got
held up in a broom closet in the Dallas airport...."
I'll have to take your word for that, Ed. I'm a bad Texan and not really
into country music anymore.
Ilya bought into the classic "held up at a Dallas airport"
excuse but had a different notion of what "held up" meant:
"History will show, without a doubt, that Martin Taylor's sudden
departure from Microsoft was a condition of his release set by the criminal
masterminds who held him up at a Dallas airport. "Leave Microsoft—or
else!" they said, and produced some convincing evidence of their
resolve to deliver on the "else" part in the form of a recent
MSFT stock chart, or perhaps a severed pinky (eyewitness accounts differ
at this point). So it seems that Microsoft's initial response to inquiries
was truthful about Martin's Dallas misadventure after all."
And, finally, in the e-mail that wins the grand prize (my eternal admiration),
Bill from Texas serves up a masterpiece: "What happened to Martin
Taylor? It is obvious once you realize 'got held up in a Dallas airport'
is an anagram for 'Dang, I trip up a lot! A head rolls.'"
I'll have more of your reactions to the newsletter next week. In the
meantime, keep sending your musings to email@example.com.
And thanks for reading.
Posted by Lee Pender on June 28, 2006 at 11:53 AM