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Comment Re:Intel's compilers (Score 1) 118

Quite a bit of Windows software is compiled using Intel's compilers...

Dear KiloByte, You clearly just made that up. That is a patently untrue statment. Both Windows and Office are bult with the Microsoft Compiler.

Don't make stuff up.


Comment Re:Don't make assumptions... (Score 1) 280

Fair enough :) But I work there and I feel it is quite fair. Ill tell you why: Microsoft treats me very well. I learn an awful lot working at Microsoft. If (or when) I moonlight, Ill use this knowledge. This will benefit me greatly. For me, its a fair deal.

What I feel people are assuming is that the assignment of any IP developed by employees by default to Microsoft is someone a problem. What many dont realize is that unless it directly negatively impinges on Microsofts business - you get the IP. In many cases you get all of it and Microsoft gets nothing. This is especially true when people come to work at Microsoft and they have projects in-flight, or products already in the market.

Here is another way to look at it. Lets say you were an employer - maybe you own a small software firm that specializes in writing software for robotic control in manufacturing plants. Lets say you took the route where you let Employees do whatever they want in their spare time and had no claim to anything done outside the office.

Now, Bob comes along and writes some cool new robotic control software. Its not exactly like your stuff, but kind of close. He puts it up on a web site and you notice some of your customers posting questions about it in his forum.

You pretty much have one recourse - immediately fire Bob and sue him for non-compete. But this may suck - Bob is a nice guy! Your wives are good friends, your kids go to the same school and both your families go to the beach every 4th of July. Bob was one of your first and best employees. You even give him generous profit sharing.

So, how would you feel Mr. Entrepreneur? What would you do?

Now, lets say there was an IP policy in place - similar to Microsofts and most other companies. In that case, Bob would have had to ask first and the conversation could have gone smiting like this "Hey! Thats a great idea. its cool if you want to spend your own time on this. I like it so much that well make it a company product and Ill give you 25% of the profits. Ill even loan you our spare robot for testing." Without that policy, that conversation probably wouldnt happen. Heck - Bobs spare time is his right?

Many commenters seem to feel that what they do on their own time is their own business - damn (or even fuck) their employer (go look at the comments). Employment is a two way street. If you want your employer to treat you fairly, then treat them fairly as well. Showing a modicum of loyalty isnt a bad place to start.

Ok - so there seem to be lots of Slashdot commenters that dont like this kind of policy. Ok, thats groovy. Everyone in the US is at liberty to work for companies that dont have those policies. Nobody is making them work for Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Apple, IBM, Facebook, Amazon, or HP.


Comment Re:Don't make assumptions... (Score 1) 280

Fair enough :) I think its accurate to say that Microsoft's policies are very liberal for the US. Its cool that in places like the UK employees are more at liberty to do things outside of work without any employer entangle ments. Sure! I think that NHS is a gret enabler for individuals and entrepenureship. I'm somewhat of an oxymoron in the US. I'm quite conservative, but I'm highly infavor of President Obama's health care initiatives.

Comment Re:Don't make assumptions... (Score 1) 280

The absurd restrictions as you call them are the norm in the US, and for most US companies that have offices abroad - though local laws may enforce different employee and IP agreements. You may not like it, but if you refused to accept them, then you would have a really hard time working in the US. Which may be just fine for you. There are great places to work all over the world. With respect to funding - see my other post. Also, is "MS can go fuck themselves" really the best you can do? Really? -Foredecker

Comment Re:Don't make assumptions... (Score 1) 280

Really? Have you looked at your employment agreement or corporate policies carefully? Even if there are not any expclity restrictions in either place, there are state and federal laws that protect your eomployer against many employee behavirs they may not like. What would your employer do (and I'm not asking you to reval it, I know you don't want to be a paid shill) if you started competing directly with them in your off time? I suspect they wouldn't be too happy abou tit. I'm also pretty sure they could fire you for it (not that they would, they are probalby pretty groovy people). Like many other posters have pointed out. The vast majority of companies have very, very strict IP policies. For most, antying an employee does - work related or not - belongs to their employer. My point is that Microsoft's policis are very, very liberal and favor the employee. The only way they could be more liberal is if hey didn't exist. -Foredecker

Comment Re:Don't make assumptions... (Score 1) 280

It is highly unlikely that Microsoft would screw Bob (the real name of Paint.NETs author). Its just not the right thing to do. It is very unlikely that Microsoft would tell Bob to stop working on paint.net. First, it would make Bob very happy, second its very, very unlikely that Paint.NET would be materially impactful to anything Microsoft would do. Of course, I cant say this with authority, but I know Bobs management chain really well (I used to be his skip manger) and we just wouldnt do this.

I know slashdotters love to assume that being a developer at Microsoft is a mind-numbingly boring, tedious, manual, excruciating, soul-crushing bureaucratic exercise. This couldn’t be further from the truth – especially in Windows.

People that work at Microsoft , like Bob, work for real people. Human beings. Nice folks. Mangers, like myself enjoy treating people fairly, liberally, and nicely. It makes us happy. It engenders friendships. It is essential to making work fun and enjoyable.

I know folks just dont want to believe it, but Microsoft has some of the most liberal and supportive policies of any company, not just high tech companies. We treat our people really well. Yes, yes, not everyone is happy - just go read the Mini-Microsoft blog. But, I claim this is a very small minority - compare the number of posts on MM with the number of blogs on blogs.msnd.com and blogs.technet.com. Whats the factor? 1,000 to 1? Higher?


Comment Re:Don't make assumptions... (Score 1) 280

Feh - I hit submit instead of continue editing. My apologies. I didnt address your comment "in whos universe". In the vast majority of these cases, nobody could quit their job and pursue their moonlighting work. This is especially true of for ad-hoc mobile app development. They only reason most people can do this kind of thing is because they have a day job.

In most moonlighting situations (not just at Microsoft), the moonlighter cannot just quit their day job and pursue their dream.

I think the moonlighting policy at Microsoft is more than fair - its excellent. As I said, it is very likely the most liberal of any high tech company. I know it is much more liberal than Google and Apples polices.

Remember, the 20% time thing at Google has nothing to do with moonlighting - its time spent on projects for Google. Its also worth noting that while Microsoft doesnt have an official delineated 20% time policy, that kind of time is common for many people. But, its different than Google. For example, when my team is in the middle of a Windows development cycle - we focus on that 100%. But, when we are not focused on finishing a coding, integration or stabilization milestone, we very often have time to work on 20% kind of things - often way more than 20%. We call this prototyping. It is quite common for prototype code to productized and used in products. Ive done this several times. So have many others I know. This is true for minor things and some big things. For example Superfetch was heavily prototyped. So where some key cold boot optimizations. We could not have included these things (and many others) in Windows without considerable prototyping time. Note that prototypes are very often the idea of a single person, or a small group of people. Program mangers often come up with great prototyping ideas. Prototyping ideas almost never come from management saying "Hey guys, go prototype this thing" (but that does happen sometimes).

As further illustration, many of the projects on Codeplex.com are from Microsoft people and are great examples of moonlighting and 20% time kinds of things. Heck, Cineplex itself started out (long ago) as an internal side project.


Comment Don't make assumptions... (Score 2) 280

Gah! This kind of thing drives me nuts!

Here is the truth. Microsoft has one of the most liberal employee moonlighting policies of any high tech company. This includes yours. Microsoft has long allowed moonlighting. There are many employees that moonlight. Of course, a lot of moonlighting is writing software. This is often to extend Microsoft products. But there are others as well, some people write books, some write and perform music, some build furniture and some teach.

I have first hand knowledge of several examples, one of which I can talk bout. I hired the guy that develops Paint.Net/a>.. He worked for me a while and we are currently on the same team. Getting permission for him to continue Paint.NET development was easy and a no-brainer.

The only things Microsoft has ever ask of any moonlighter is/p>

  • Ask for permission first. People get it in most cases directly from their manger, or a director. No VPs or HR needed.
  • DDont compete with Microsoft. People will not get permission for this. For example, I wouldnt get permission to write a new word processor thus competing with word.
  • Dont let it impact your Microsoft job. Note, moonlighting often benefits a persons day job, and often their team.
  • Microsoft gets an implicitly license to your stuff. Note this doesnt encumber the employee in any way - they can sell and license their stuff too. But Microsoft can use it with no royalties. After all, were funding it indirectly. Its only fair.

Again, moonlighging is very common at Microsoft. Our policies are quite liberal and have been for a very long time. I understand Bill put them inplace himself.

Here, Microsoft is simply making a very liberal policy even more liberal.

-a href="http://foredecker.wordpress.com/about/">Foredecker

Comment Re:Research stuff (Score 3, Informative) 403

Sure. Here are a few that are not obvious - or officially published - like Kenect.

  • Boot optimizations
  • Speech recognition algorithms and data structures.
  • SSD performance measurement
  • Power optimizations
  • Performance modeling (used to improve the product, not actually in it)
  • Time Travel debugging
  • Office grammar checker
  • ClearType
  • All kinds of stuff from the Seadragon folks

II think some slashdotters assume that if its not some big earth shattering high PR value block buster thing, then it must not happen. My point is that this happens all the time. The benefits Microsoft Research brings to our products are many, but not necessarily highly visible.

Remember, we are a company. Our goal is to make money - great heaping gobs of it. MSR is a key part of this. MSR does exists to benefit our products. This often takes time and not everything MSR does gets into a product. But we learn a lot even from the things that dont help a product directly.

But, you are missing my other - and most important - point: Diegcog - very likey just made that statment up. Its called lying. Ill be interested to read his respsonse, if any.


Comment Re:Research stuff (Score 1) 403

Dude, that is complete and utter BS. Did you just make that up? Or do you have first hand knowledge?

I actually have first hand knowledge: Many, many things make it from Microsoft Research directly into products. Im aware of many that are in Windows. We are really good at this.

Were not perfect, if you are going to be derisive about Microsoft, at least be original and accurate.


Comment Re:h4rr4r - you can do better... (Score 1) 601

Hi h4rr4r,

Ok! Now were getting somewhere. In your last post you didnt curse, and you didnt say anything insulting. You are getting close to a lucid and fact base conversation.

The idea that posting a positive comment about your employer makes someone a "paid shill" is just goofy, it is nonsensical. If you really believe this, then there are large numbers of paid shills posting on Slasdhot and in many other places. So, please be sure to critisize them as equally as you have critisized me.

I think you dont understand the labor market. My explanation that we pay people the same no matter if they are citizens or on a Vista doesnt prove your point - not even a little. We dont complete for labor with just ourselves, but with many, many other companies - the demand for labor in our industry is what sets labor prices - not what just what we pay. We compete for top talent every day with Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, IBM, Oracle, and many other companies (including small companies and startups). Its this market that determines the cost of labor - how much we pay in salary and the overall total rewards package.

The current labor market for they kind of people we hire - devleopers and technical people in particular - is currently tilted in dramatic favor of the candidates. Said more simply, the demand for top technical tallent greatly outstrips the supply. Im sure you understand basic economics to know what that means.

We simply cant pay less than the market rate or people that we wanted to hire would simply go to other companies that offered better packages. We see this all the time. For example, we recently lost a very good new-grad hire to Google. They simply offered the candidate a higher sign on bonus. He waned to buy a new car. He was very up front about it. He was talking to Amazon as well. Unfortunately, he accepted Googles offer before we had a chance to counter. He was new to this and didnt understand that he had a good negotiating position and very likely could have gotten more out of someone.

I dont like tax cheats either - they are breaking the law. I was really clear that avoiding taxes legally is good, right, proper and noble. If you dont like people and companies that do that then you really dont like a very large number of people and companies. Are you being hypocritical here? Have you ever taken a tax deduction? How about for mortgage interest? Or a home office? If so, how is OK for you to do that, and cheating if others do it? How do you judge a ligitmate tax reduction technique, or a bad one. Do you just know it when you see it - which is subjective relativsim at its worst - or do you have some more objetive criteria? You can I can agree to disagree here - but as long as its legal, its not cheating. I argue that it would be good to make it much simpler, and that it would be good for the country if some corporate and individual tax shelters were eliminated. But again, if its legal, its not only OK, its good, right and proper.

I searched, but I dont think anybody ever fussed at us about doing anything that could remotely be called bribing dell. Do note that we have long had a marketing program where we give partners marketing dollars if they meet a min-quality bar. You may be familiar with the Windows Logo Program. If they meet our logo requirements, they get some marketing money. This program changes a bit from release to rerelease. All OEMs are equally eligible .

My apologies for missing your comment about "calling Linux a cancer". Ballmer was widely misquoted here. If you read the articles (here is one), he was talking about the GPL - not Linux itself. Ive personally heard Ballmer talk about this internally, and it is the license he doesnt like, not the things that use the license. Now, you may believe that is splitting hairs, and if you take umbrage to Ballmers opinion here, then I suggest you have a thin skin and are more than a little hypocritical. You personally called me an asshole. How does that compare to what Ballmer said? Moreover, the vitriol from the anti-Microsoft (particular on Slashdot) is way, way more acidic than any of Ballmers statements. if you are going to hold Ballmer to task for this statment then you must certainly resever equal disdain for lots of posts and peole here on Slashdot. You can find my related views here.

Yes - I should have been more clear in talking about monopolies.That wasnt a very well written argument. Privatizing was a poor choice of words. I should have said de-regulating. Its pretty common that when left to their own devices, ulility companies will rise prices unreasonably.

Note - you didnt mention if you approve of MLB or not...

Next, you said:

How the Xbox turned out? According to MS it still has not ever made a dime. The 360 may one day pay back its own dev costs, but it will not pay for the first one. This is a great example of MS using its monopoly earnings in other markets to distort this market.

Im not sure where you are getting your XBOX numbers - do some research. Go look at our 2010 financial statements - heck, just go look at many other posts here on Slashdot. The XBOX business is gangbusters for us and my understanding is that the XBOX business has had a positive (and good) ROI for some time now. As I mentioned in another post - just XBOX live alone is running at $1.2 billion dollars. Here are some links:

Note, I do believe that we lost money on the original XBOX. But with the 360, the overall program has been quite successful and is a growing and profitable business.

Lets talk about interoperability. Interoperability is a feature. Its is not free. You are a developer - you know that. SharePoint (and many other things) are Microsoft products, they work best with Microsoft products. Just like things that run on Linux work best with Linux. This is by design. Often we design, implement our products to interoperate well with non-Microsoft products. Sometimes we dont. What I can tell you is interoperability is something that is customer driven - when our customers needed it, we do it. Again, we do this often. But, we dont spend money, time, effort and energy on interoperability just because someone on Slashdot might be unhappy about it. It doesnt take too much digging to find non-Microsoft stuff that doesnt interoperate with our stuff. How bout authentication? To my knowledge - there is no way for a Linux system to participate in a Windows domain security model (which is quite good) despite all the publicly documented protocols to do so. Note, Linux systems can login with Kerberos - which has been supported since W2K, but that just authenticates users - it doesnt make a Linux system a full participant in a Windows domain security system. Note, that our support for Kerberos is great example of a feature specifically included for interoperability. Note, i think this is just fine - but it is an example of a lack of interoperability in Linux.

Im not sure what interoperability problems you are talking about with SharePoint - but Ill take it on face value that there are some. Im assuming you are unhappy that SharePoint doesnt work with one or more non-Microsoft browsers. Note, I actually use FF at work and it seems to work just fine with our internal SharePoint servers. In any case, these are our products. We dont make anybody buy them. If you dont like it, dont use them. Im sure you can find all kinds of alternate products - right?

Im not familiar enough with how Excel works on the Mac. But, the MAC version of office doesnt have 100% feature parity with the Windows version. My understanding is that this is more due to the what Apple customers want, and the costs of developing he product, than any strategic or tactical decision not to support something. Like with any cross platform engineering project - there are trade offs to be made. Very few things that are truly cross platform have 100% feature parity (though Im sure some do). This is especially true for big complex things like Office.

I now apologize if I havent addressed any of your comments. If I have missed any, its not intentional - just let me know what Ive missed and Ill comment as best I can.

My motives for many of the questions I ask you is to determine if the dislike and criticism you have of Microsoft is primarily aimed at Microsoft, or if you have an equal dislike for the other companies that do the same things. I read through as many of your Slashdot post as i could in about 45 minutes and these seem to indicate a focus on Microsoft. If so, then that is highly hypocritical. If you are going to be this critical of Microsoft, then you should also be as critical of other companies that share similar business practices.

Let me give you a good example: Google giving Android away for free. Many people consider this highly anti-competitive behavior.My personal opinion is that this is simple corporate hard ball at its maximum. Developing a good mobile operating system, shell and set of applications is freakishly expensive. Apple, Nokia (with Symbian), and Microsoft have all invested tons and tons of money here. So has Google. Googles revenue model isnt selling software. Their primary revenue stream is advertising by a ratio of 26 to 1 (clearly shown in their most recent financial statement).Googles goal is to undercut their competition with a free product then make revenues off of search and customer data from Android based systems. They openly call this both offensive and defensive (cite). Forbes thinks this will be a $1B market soon - almost as big as our SharePoint business which is well over $1B in annual revenue, and highly profitable. Google confirm this themselves (cite). When launched in 2008, Google said they would not take a cut of any paid app revenues (cite). This is a direct shot at Apples business. For paid apps, they take 30% from the developer and give it to the carriers (which I think is brilliant).

Google isnt doing this because they are good, or because they are noble, or because they love open source, or because they want to do what is best for customers. They are doing it for one reason: to make as much money as they possibly can at the direct expense of their competitors. To do this, they will leverage every possible advantage they can - including their dominant market share in search, which some claim is a monopoly, (cite, cite, cite, cite, cite - I could go on and on here...). To be clear - I dont agree with all monopoly claims against Google, or Apple, or Microsoft. My personal opinion is that such claims are driven by competitors who simply suck - they couldnt cut it. So they did the only thing they could do - sue. Losers every one. It may be expensive, it may take a while, but it is possible to successfully complete with Google, Apple and Microsoft - on their home turf, in their strongest markets. Its just really hard and doing so means making no-mistakes because the big guys will squash you if you screw up. Bummer for the looser here - whoever it may be.

Lastly, I have some requests for you:

  • Dont make stuff up. If you are going to be critical, make an effort get your facts right. Bing and Google are very easy to use. If you make stuff up you are simply lying - you are not merely being mistaken.
  • Dont cuss and dont gratuitously insult people. It just makes your posts vulgar, base and common. It sucks the legitimacy out of your statements and arguments.
  • If you are going to be critical of Microsoft, be sure to apply that criticism equally to others where it applies. Doing otherwise is simply petty and hypocritical.

Best Regards

p.s. My appologies if there are spelling mistakes in this post. I use a spell checker of course, but Im a terrible proof reader.

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