Thursday, December 6, 2007

No dev at Microsoft looks like this

By now, you've all seen The Programmer's Dress Code.

No (or very few) devs look like this at Microsoft, for some reason. It is not that we hire people on looks. We need everybody - dev, test and PM - to be good communicators. And, probably, if you have zero dress sense (or bizarre facial hair), you won't be too good at the communicating part.

But I'd like to think we have developers as good as Bjarne and the others. Some of our dev architects certainly think they are.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I'd pay about $80 for Ultimate. That's the price from the company store.

Awesome! No more WGA/Kill Switch!

From ZDNet's Ed Bott: The WGA kill switch will be gone in Vista SP1.

My opinion as a Windows employee? Good riddance.

WGA is DRM for operating systems. It Does Not Work. People will copy Windows Vista, no matter what we do.

On the other hand, it does resoundingly suck that shady system resellers are selling cracked versions of Vista. WGA did help to stamp that out... a bit.

The long term solution? Don't sell Windows for so bloody much. I think Windows is worth more than $0 - it does contain a lot of new technology, after all.

I don't think the Ultimate version is worth $200, though.

Maybe... $100? How much would you pay?

Monday, December 3, 2007

How many (successful) business plans does Microsoft have?


And it is not working anymore.

In the Windows world - We  (Microsoft) make Windows, somebody (the Independent Hardware Ventor - IHV) makes the hardware as cheaply as possible, and you run somebody else's software on it to do useful stuff (The Independent Software Developer - ISV)

Sometimes, the 'ISV' is the company that provides you with the data or the service plan to make the other two useful.

We use this business plan over and over and over again:

Our product : IHV : ISV

Media Center
The cable companies

Urge, etc

Windows Server
another part of Microsoft - the SQL guys, for example

Samsung, etc
Your phone company

This model worked great, back in the day when 640k of RAM was enough for everybody, but it does not work anymore.

Here's one example. (Windows Mobile is getting massacred in the marketplace by iPhone.)

Why is this failing? Well, two reasons, at least:

You call the Microsoft helpdesk, because something is wrong with your smartphone/mp3 player/whatever. Microsoft blames the IHV (who made the gadget, as cheaply as they could), who, in turn blames the ISV (who don't have any real interest helping you after you purchased their crappy software), who, in turn, blames Microsoft (who tried to design their software, by committee, for a variety of the IHV's and ISV's whims.)

Second reason: Computers are changing into consumer electronics. 10-15 years ago, you needed to know about IRQs and DIP switches to run a computer. Today, your teenager picks a laptop based on its color.

Back in the days when computers were complex, consumers had to put up with the complexity and buck-passing of the Microsoft-IHV-ISV system.

These days, with great consumer electronics products like the iPhone around, the Microsoft-IHV-ISV system is a dinosaur.

The times we've tried to set up a new business plan (the Zune, the XBox), we get to some limited success, after digging an enormous hole. Yes, XBox is profitable (now) - but go take a look at how much money we've sunk into it already.

Winding up, winding down

Only one more week until my vacation! All of Windows gets extremely busy in early December (we're trying to schedule dev work for '08), and then, at about December 15th, all of Microsoft turns into a ghost town. Until the first week of January.

Which means I'm horrendously busy every day, and I should not have spent the entire day reading Megan Wallent's blog.

(For those not in the know, Megan was the manager of a huge chunk of the Windows team back in the Longhorn/Vista (Primarily .Net 3.0 - Avalon). She was known as Michael Wallent back then, before her sex change. She's blogging about her transition...very interesting reading.)

Best of luck, Megan.