The executive who coordinated Microsoft’s anti-Linux campaign has quit the company less than three months after moving to a position revamping MSN’s marketing. Martin Taylor, a 13-year Microsoft veteran and advisor to chief executive Steve Ballmer, has left in an apparent rush and without official explanation. Such was the speed of Taylor’s exit his name still features on one of Microsoft’s latest press releases.
Ballmer’s Right Hand Man Waves Goodbye to Microsoft
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2006-06-21 11:45 pmflanque
I wouldn’t call it a dud.
2006-06-22 4:24 amtomcat
Let’s put it this way. Many of MSFT’s customers use Linux in some capacity. I think it can be kind of insulting to those customers for MSFT (or any vendor) to make disparaging claims about other vendors’ products. Linux server shipments are up; of course, so are MSFT’s, but I think you can probably conclude that coming out against Linux hasn’t made a dent at all.
2006-06-22 4:27 amflanque
I guess it’s all within the context of what you’re looking at.
2006-06-22 5:54 amdylansmrjones
The MS “Get The FUD” campaign has ruined more for Microsoft than it has benefitted Microsoft.
I’m not making anything out of this, could be any number of reasons for him leaving. I’ve heard there is more in-fighting in Micrsoft than losing out to competition that’s the problem. I’ve read about an aparent progammers vs management conflict and that could really take them down, because each division or department has their own focus or goal without any communication of what other departments are doing. So nothing to make out of this until getting direct word as to why, and I don’t mean word from an MS PR, what PR reps say don’t count for nothing! So we can’t gauge anything from Taylor leaving, unless it’s something like Taylor feels MS FUD messages are a waste of time against open source operating systems, then I think there would be huge message in that if that was the case for him.
2006-06-22 6:38 ambubbayank
I’ve read about an aparent progammers vs management conflict and that could really take them down, because each division or department has their own focus or goal without any communication of what other departments are doing.
Just on a totally neutral note, I think MSFT is a fascinating study of how big a project like an operating system can get before there is some kind of communication breakdown that leads to chaos.
At this point an insider tell-all gossip book would probably be most entertaining.
Anyone have any numbers that break down how many developers the 10 largest software companies employ on their largest project?
Microsoft’s own customer research says the campaign is a flop.
The level of commentary on that page is excessive and somewhat annoying, but it’s a good collection anyway.
“Messages that criticize OSS, Linux, & the GPL are NOT effective. Messaging that discusses possible Linux patent violations, pings the OSS development process for lacking accountability, attempts to call out the ‘viral’ aspect of the GPL, and the like are only marginally effective in driving unfavorable opinions around OSS, Linux, and the GPL, and in some cases backfire. On the other hand ‘positive’ OSS, Linux, and GPL messages are very effective – both across geographies and audiences.”
Cliché quote time: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.” -Mohandas Gandhi
I wouldn’t move the guy who came up with the brilliant scheme of “Let’s fight them!” to a shakier and more vital penetration point like MSN.
2006-06-22 10:41 amExhar Khun
“Microsoft’s own customer research says the campaign is a flop.”
The campaign this research refers to was Gates/Balmer/Mundie calling Linux a cancer and an intectual property pacman etc.
This research you qoute was the REASON Taylor was appointed, and the REASON why he started the Get the Facts/Fud campaign. What he succeeded in was stopping MS management shooting itself in the foot (as explained in your research). In this he succeeded very well.
He made the Win/Lin debate a discussion instead of a tirade at least from the side of MS.
Guess he was `given the facts` and chose to resign.
What’s next? The Steve running MicroSlippy? No wait…
This doesn’t seem like a key Senior VP leaving “to pursue other opportunities” or “to spend more time with the family.” Microsoft’s statement implies he was fired, and although you might be quick to suggest this is merely a “cover-up,” I don’t think they would make that statement if he quit on his own terms.
This was definitely a sudden move. I don’t get the sense that Taylor or MS brass saw this coming as recently as last Friday.
Further, since MS is on the eve of a huge marketing campaign for Windows Live, over which Taylor would have had primary responsibility, this would be absolutely the worst time for Taylor to leave. This rules out the possibility that he was fired for poor performance or because Ozzie thought there was someone better for the job in the long run.
No, I think that neither Taylor nor Ray Ozzie wanted this to happen, and certainly not right now. There can only be one explanation: Taylor broke the rules. I couldn’t speculate on what he did wrong, but it’s something along the lines of business ethics, theft/misappropriations, sexual misconduct… He must have done something that put MS in a position where they had to fire him.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lawsuit come out of this either…
He jumped ship at the right time.
I dont think he could have kept up his campaign as the anti-linux guy in the shop with the quality of distros coming out now and Vista looking so so.
I wish him well.
There is *no* such thing as bad PR. If anything, Microsoft’s “get the facts” campaign has given Linux free PR and marketing. Of course Redhat Enterprise Linux 2 AS on hardware it has known problems on will run slower than windows 2003 on the same box, things like that are true.
Microsoft does present mostly “facts” in the “get the facts” campaign no matter how distorted they are. If I tell you something but fail to mention a very important part, I am not lying to you, I am decieving you. Microsoft’s pro-windows advertisments are often VERY deceptive and targeted towards naive and non-tech saavy executives. If they compared apples to apples instead of apples to banannas, it would be harder for them. They choose the easy way out using their massive marketing machine.
this is more than likely fall-out from Gate’s announcement that he’s leaving. Now there’s a power void, and that means arguments… and chair throwing! All the power hungry upper management that’s been second string for all these years is going to fight the other managers for the Good spots in the company. You saw what they did to other businesses… imagine what they’ll do to Each Other!! On top of that investors are getting worried, the press is catching on, and of course we’ve been hounding MS for years.
Remember, a good portion of MS success was disrupting the other guys morale… fud to the media, stealing employees, fud to customers, etc…. now it’s all comming back to them. Sounds like fun… the media LOVES a winner about to loose big even more than a winner!
Martin Taylor, a 13-year
That’s why the campaign made no sense, MS hired a 13-year kid to do it…
Edited 2006-06-22 13:00
2006-06-22 1:16 pmTomB7
Really? No kidding?
What exactly does Mr. Ballmer do with his right hand?
2006-06-22 7:41 pmCelerate
What? You were expecting a dirty joke? 😉
2006-06-23 1:31 amA.H.
What? You were expecting a dirty joke? 😉
Not really. “Holds the mouse” would’ve sufficed 😉
Martin Taylor and Bill Gates might have simply quit and for a reason I dug up in the early part of the SCO vs. Linux lawsuit campaign from an independent investment consultant named Bill Parish (When I found out that some of SCO’s “stolen source codes” they were citing as “evidence” actually came from the BSD OS and returned to a pro linux position in that case.)
It seems that Microsoft has been cooking up their books in an Enron like fashion, particularly where stock options were concerned. The time may be coming for them to reap what they have sown and Gates and Tayler are leaving the company to avoid the “go to jail” seat when
the natural fertil;izer hits the rotating device.
By all appearances, MSFT’s anti-Linux campaign has been a dud. So, it’s not clear that this guy’s leaving will have much of an impact at all.