Friday, May 23, 2003

Good opinion piece today about the long decline of Microsoft. I think the article is spot on without being hyperbolic. The only part I would quibble with is when it began. I conjecture that the downhill slide began shortly after the launch of Windows 95. Microsoft completely missed the Internet and this was a turning point they've never really recovered from. I used to argue with product managers about including TCP/IP technology in Window 95. I had one of the earliest internal web servers (VirtualSE) on the Microsoft corporate network using at first the EMWAC web server software for Windows NT. I also began exploring the Internet on my own shortly after I joined Microsoft in 1993. It took a long time for the rest of Microsoft to catch up. I even had other "engineers" tell me that the Web would never catch on! The second miss was OpenSource software and Linux. I was there for both of these events and witnessed the denial that goes on inside global companies. The culmination for me was demoing a fully functional Linux Desktop for the full Microsoft government sales force. People were completely flummoxed. The group think can be quite frightening! Bill Gates saying that "if there was a big red button to turn off the Internet I would push it" is revelatory.

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