It's Not That Interesting, Folks

With 1 year of service behind me at Microsoft, I've been trying to figure out how to sum up some thoughts.  I've been psyched for my 1 year anniversary to pass, though for different reasons than my former northern-Idaho colleagues understand. :)  (Sorry, that's an insider joke.)

So what's with the title?  Microsoft not interesting?  Well, let me drop a bombshell, folks:  it's not Area 51, it's a company.  In many ways, a great company ... cool campus, good benefits, lots of smart people.  But it's just that.  Nothing more, nothing less.

I wanted to use my time (and yours) to do some virtual eye rolling.  If you've never been to the Redmond campus, it's quite cool.  It's big.  I remember a few years back when, at another company, we occasionally had meetings in the opposite corner of the building.  People would joking grumble about the distance.  Here, though, you may need to take a shuttle to get to a meeting.  The other side of the building, in contrast, is a welcomed change.

But here's the thing:  the campus is open, the streets are public.  There's no vast underground research centers spying on Apple and Google.  No moat and drawbridge.  I'm simply amazed at the disinformation that is out there.  So much so that I actually question almost anything I read.  For example, this article on Wired (Hide your iPod, Here Comes Bill).  Complete and utter BS, sensationalized journalism.  The way this article is written seems to suggest some vast secret society, with executives spewing spittle in disgust over not having 100% market share.  And speaking of the iPod, the really cool video parody spread around the net recently was internal. 

And the recently announced organizational changes, on the heels of the Vista delay, is another good example.  I had a good laugh about the number of "articles" that quoted a "60% code rewrite" that we're supposedly doing in Vista, along with these "sweeping management changes" suggesting Vista is in really bad shape.  Again, not true.  I'll admit Microsoft has a healthy amount of corporate restructuring, but it's largely business as usual and frankly a good thing.

But, why the delay, then?  First, the delay (about 8 weeks over the original RTM) is pretty minor compared to the huge setback of the Longhorn reset of yesteryear.  The software schedules are always aggressively set ... so why not pack a little more padding room?  It's simple, really: work expands to fill the time allotted.  This is an across the board rule, and not strictly software-based, either.   Comparing Vista to OSX is apples to oranges and no comparison is really valid.

The quality of the release needs to be high; no one -- especially us -- wants another WinME.  We set that as the top priority.  I think it was id software that started the expression, "We'll ship when it's ready."  It's not so simple with an OS, as there are vendors, OEMs, retailers, etc.  So we need to balance all the factors that go into a piece of software as big as Vista.

Will it make January?  I hope so.  But the key is: we want to ship quality.  In the meantime, take whatever articles you see in NeoWin, Wired, or Slashdot with a grain of salt.  Daily life around campus is really not that dramatic.
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