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For eight years (1992-2000), I was the driving force behind Microsoft's effort
to make its Technology Evangelism (TE) efforts more efficient, effective, and
ruthless, by studying both the practice and the theory of TE. After leaving
Microsoft in 2000, I spurned the inquiries of numerous Microsoft competitors
to testify on their behalf. As recently as year, I fell on my sword on
So why come forward now?
First, the global financial melt-down forced an epiphany. We at Microsoft
always felt that we were on the side of free markets and unfettered capitalis
—you know, the Good Guys. But so did the guys at Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie
Mae, and all of the other failed financial institutions. Even Alan Greenspan,
the High Priest of free markets, has had to concede that there's "a flaw" in
free market economics—a flaw that led directly to the current financial
My belief that I was one of the Good Guys was similarly flawed. This is now
inescapable. I was wrong. Many of the TE practices that I developed, taught,
and espoused were wrong. Anyone who continues to practice them is wrong. As a
first step towards making amends for my past wrongdoing, I must make this
clear, and widely known.
Second, Microsoft—where these practices were developed, welcomed, and endorsed
as official policy—is this week launching its first public volley in the
Mother of All Standards Battles, to control the de facto standards of cloud
computing. For Microsoft, this is a life-or-death struggle. When Microsoft's
back is to the wall, can it reasonably be expected to refrain from using the
TE tactics that it KNOWS will help it win, if its use of those tactics is
However, my concern is not just for Microsoft. These TE practices are very
effective, and now that some of them have been documented in the public
record, other platform vendors will be tempted to use them, too, when their
backs are against the wall.
This problem can only be treated, I believe, by professionalizing TE, and
thereby inoculating platform vendors against unethical TE practices.
That's why I felt compelled to come forward now. Only now have I realized how
wrong I was, and by coming forward now, in the opening skirmishes of the Cloud
Computing Wars, I can begin to make amends for my past wrong-doing.
He even links to Groklaw.
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