Microsoft: Irrelevant, Evil or Eternally Optimistic?

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-09-08 Print this article Print


All right, so back to the perception issue. Some people say Microsoft's irrelevant, others say you're evil. What are you?

We are eternally optimistic. We're the world's largest software company. We believe that it's the purpose of software to bring to life hardware, wherever it is. So we have a really clear and coherent self-image and mission and purpose. We are bringing the magic of software to every device; everywhere there's a chip we'll be writing software for it. And we'll be working to make it really, really good-quality software. Right now we're in a position where we can deliver some pretty amazing experiences.

I just came out of MGX in Atlanta and watching some of the demonstrations that we'll be showing at PDC [Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference] and that we'll be showing later this year of the future of Office, of the future of the operating system platform.

There are pretty amazing, connected, social computing experiences that take the software that you already know how to use and make it work better. Like almost just waving a wand and saying, "Make Excel a social computing environment." Wow, that's pretty cool. I think in bringing that strategy, that sense of self-identity, that sense of optimism to how we partner with and contribute to developers worldwide-my little corner of the set of portfolios that Microsoft has got as strategies is applying that to open-source developers, to open-source licenses, to open-source practices. ... And seeing how we can be a really strong responsible participant.

And I get so much positive feedback that it really makes up for anything else I hear. When I talk with Jeremy Allison, when I talk with Mike Schroepfer, Mike Shaver and any other name that you choose to pick, or when I talked with Brian Behlendorf to get his sense of what he thought about the ASF sponsorship, [I get] such positive feedback. I'm OK that it takes awhile for a certain broader perception to come around. Perception always carries a tail.

The reason I brought that up is Brian Aker, one of the MySQL developers in the keynote earlier, said Microsoft is irrelevant.

I didn't attend. You have to remember he works with Sun.

And Sun knows they have to interoperate.

Yes, and we have a good partnership with Sun. As a matter of fact, I was the spokesperson on the Sun partnership. I come from a world where you have to make everything work together. I worked at BEA Systems for three years. Our business was very much a Sun business. I come from a point of view that says everything has got to work with everything, or else it's not worth doing.


Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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