Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Richard Rutter: "The U.S. government did nothing about [Microsoft's Internet Explorer strategy] and now Microsoft are going to try the same trick with Longhorn."

Rob Fahrni wishes Visio was at the center of the universe. Well, at least the central California wing that Fahrni belongs to. Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but the Visio folks actually work in the best Microsoft building. It's on the waterfront in downtown Seattle (a couple of blocks away from the market), and I took my son Patrick in there and went up to the fifth floor and just hung out. Freaking wireless works everywhere. Even in downtown Seattle. You know, if you Visio folks would advertise that a little more widely, I think you'd start getting other groups and employees to pay attention a little more.

It's unfortunate, though. Redmond really is the center of the world. Why? Keith Pleas' boat trip tonight puts punctuation on that. It's about networking and hearing what other teams are doing and adding your two cents into the process.

It'd be like trying to be an Apple employee, but working outside of California. There's something about being in the Valley, and hanging out in the cafeteria and seeing Steve Jobs walk in. It's just the way businesses work. But, it's something to fight. I try to pay attention to what Microsoft employees in other parts of the world are doing. What they are doing is important.

Take a Linux lover to the Microsoft company store, and see what happens. Heh.

Keith Pleas took Maryam and I out on his boat on Lake Washington tonight. What a freaking treat. Keith is the best host, and his other guests, Larry Krueger and team from LogicLibrary were lots of fun too. They had recently converted from Java to .NET and were overly enthusiastic about .NET. But, that might have something to do with the wine and beer onboard. Or, maybe it was because Keith took us by Bill Gates' house and we all looked at Gates helicopter pad.

Whatever the reason, it's a good sign that .NET adoption is gonna increase in days ahead.

I've been thinking about Marc Canter's comment yesterday that Microsoft doesn't care about developers. You know, if it weren't for developers, there probably wouldn't be Longhorn. What do I mean?

The next version of Windows was prototyped on one of the products that Mark built. You know, Macromedia Director?

Whoa, you mean Microsoft uses a product that was designed about 20 years ago? Yes! It's a great product and helps us get ideas tested before committing them to actual code.

It's not a well-kept secret that Marc is showing around prototypes of a new set of tools that'll make a new set of apps possible (his new company is Broadband Mechanics). He's looking for funding. He's looking to do some really cool things. I wish I was a VC.

But, then, this morning, he points out that I've definitely taken the red pill.

That's a common myth of Microsoft from the Silicon Valley point of view. That there's some concerted "evilness" about this place. When you're here, it's apparent that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer don't drive a tank. The truth is more that this place is an anthill. We go toward food sources, and away from things that cause us pain. It's a hive mind up here. No one told me to say anything pro or con on my weblog about Microsoft. They don't have to. We're 55,000 people, all acting based on our view of the world.

In two months, I've barely even had any contact with execs.

Don't assume that we're doing what we're doing to hurt or help you. We are just a bunch of people trying to keep our jobs, and we move toward food sources and away from pain or poison. It's as simple as that.

Now, if you're down in the valley and you're trying to beat us, move toward the food sources faster than we can. Adobe and Macromedia figured out that there was billions in revenue on the Internet (check out how much more revenue Adobe and Macromedia make on Acrobat and Flash than we have on any of our initiatives -- think that doesn't matter? Ask Adobe's CEO why they are building a new skyscraper in San Jose. It's because Adobe kicked our behind). Microsoft has figured out that the Internet has cost it $1.25 billion in revenue so far. So, we've figured out there's a whole lot of pain there, and are searching around for food sources.

The "ants" here are hungry. Show us where the food is, and we'll all follow along.

You haven't convinced me there's food in the Web. I have a $1.25 billion bill sitting here to punctuate my point.

In another point, Marc Canter says "we know Microsoft makes a profit off of everything." Dude that is so absolutely WRONG. Ask our shareholders about that. Ask them about the Xbox. $1 billion lost (er, invested) so far. Ask them about SmartPhone. $400 million or so lost (er, invested) so far. Ask them about Internet Explorer. $1.25 billion lost (er, invested) so far.

Yes, Microsoft makes money on a lot of things (a huge amount of money), but the truth isn't as simple as the way Marc Canter lays out the world.

We love developers, but it's a symbiotic relationship. We love the ones that love us back. We're an ant-hill. Do we love the developers who look at the anthill and want us to give away everything for free (like an anteater)? No. Do we love the developers who want to help us build our anthill, while profiting off of that endeavor. Yes.

We want another Director from you Marc. I'm gonna do my best to see that you get funding. Lots of people with a lot of money read this weblog. If you're interested in funding another potential Macromedia Director, give Marc a jingle. You might end up helping a big platform vendor like us, too.

My wife is my toughest critic. She said "you sound corny tonight, like one of those guys who sells Amway." Ouch.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 2:44:15 AM.