Longtime Windows development chief James Allchin wrote in a January 2004 e-mail to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and company co-founder Bill Gates that the software vendor had “lost sight” of customers’ needs and said he would buy a Mac if he wasn’t working for Microsoft. “In my view, we lost our way,” Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft’s platform and services division, wrote in an e-mail Jan. 7, 2004. The e-mail was presented as evidence late last week in the Iowa antitrust trial, Comes v. Microsoft. Update: Today, he wouldn’t though.
Allchin: ‘I Would Buy a Mac If I Didn’t Work for Microsoft’
About The Author
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2006-12-12 7:27 pmBluenoseJake
talk about being off-topic
2006-12-12 7:29 pmdylansmrjones
Actually it’s not. And it’s because the reader fetched it from Groklaw without a doubt
It’s a central issue in Groklaw’s covering of the Comes vs. Microsoft-trial. But we all know Thom’s antipathy towards PJ, so you cannot get anything from there brought here. You have to repack the information before Thom will link to it.
EDIT: Fixed first line. Added “. And it’s”
Edited 2006-12-12 19:30
2006-12-12 7:31 pmThom Holwerda
What are you talking about? This got submitted this way.
2006-12-12 7:32 pmdylansmrjones
Yes. And that’s what I wrote. What do you think “repack” means?
2006-12-12 7:37 pmThom Holwerda
This EXACT article got submitted. I don’t give a rat’s ass if Groklaw uncovered the email or not. User 9395 submitted this, it’s a good article on a decent website, so I saw no reason to editorialise his submission.
Get over it already. Not everything I do is an anti-Groklaw conspiracy. Now PLEASE go back on topic.
2006-12-12 7:43 pmdylansmrjones
At the very least, you admit it. That’s more than your usual self-righteous style would allow for.
At least it’s nice to know you actively remove all stories from Groklaw – or editorialise the submissions in order to remove references to Groklaw. And great of you to admit it. For once you do something your greatgrandsons can be proud of. That’s a first for you.
2006-12-12 8:47 pmelsewhere
Thom is surely going through all kinds of trouble to avoid having to link to anything remotely groklaw-related. Talk about being biased
Bah. Groklaw. Talk about bias.
When PJ is on a tear, you’ll get about as much objectivity as NotParker’s posts here on OSNews, though at least she does a better job of citing references when selectively interpreting them.
FLOSS zealotry is no better than MS fanboy zealotry, there’s been too much of both on this board lately.
2006-12-12 8:52 pmdylansmrjones
As long as she manages to come up with correct analyses she can be as biased as she wants to (and it’s impossible to be anything else than biased in an analysis). There is nothing in her analyses of references that are wrong – so far.
But of course, she is somewhat strongminded in regard to the GPL, but personally I just read the articles about SCO/Caldera and other trials – and leave out the other parts.
2006-12-12 9:13 pmma_d
This board represents a pretty strong backlash against the concept of being correct. I’ve seen it in a lot of places, and I can completely understand why it’s happening (at least in the US).
When you see the world divide on some of the silly issues it divides on you come to the conclusion that the problem is that people think they’re right and so it must be this bias that’s destroying things. While you do this you completely miss the people making real, tangible, profits from events and assume that it is misguided idealogues behind the worlds problems.
A further look into most problems tends to reveal something beyond bias which causes real problems. Things which are much more tangible: Money and power.
I wouldn’t call Thom biased. I actually think he tries way to hard to be unbiased. But this is fine, he’s a meta-news journal editor and not a leader or analyst.
But as the parent said: Analysts do need to be biased (when they’re done) otherwise what are you paying them for? It’s bias going into the analysis that can throw you off. Unfortunately, any accusation of bias here doesn’t affect the analysis’ validity but is merely attacking the messenger (an easy to catch logical fallacy if you watch for it).
Anyway, I wouldn’t expect Mr. Allchin to say something as stupid as “I want a Mac” in a public forum. Just because he’s not working at Microsoft doesn’t make him a total jerk who’d shit on several years of his own work and the work of his friends by telling people he prefers the competition.
Although that is the sort of dumb thing that engineers tend to say.
In addition. It would be silly to post links to Groklaw here. Groklaw is not a major news source and everyone here knows how to type in the URL manually…
Edited 2006-12-12 21:15
3 years ago.
“As part of one of Microsoft’s on-going lawsuits, a piece of email that I sent to Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates recently became public. It was a rant encouraging a change to the way we were building Windows at the time. In the email, I made a comment for effect about buying a Mac if I was not working at Microsoft. Taken out of context, this comment could be confusing. Let me set the record straight:
This email is nearly 3 years old, and I was being purposefully dramatic in order to drive home a point.
The point being that we needed to change and change quickly.
We did: We changed dramatically the development process that was being used and we reset the Windows Vista development project in mid-2004, essentially starting over.
2-and-½ years later, Windows Vista has turned into a phenomenal product, better than any other OS we’ve ever built and far, far better than any other software available today, in my opinion. It’s going to be available to customers on Jan 30, and I suggest everyone go out and get it as soon as you can. It’s that good.
The spirit of being self-critical continues to flourish at Microsoft. Within Microsoft everyone considers it their duty to always put their convictions and our product quality ahead of everything else. That was the intent of my mail to Bill and Steve, and I consider it a great example of how this company can focus and do what’s right for customers.”
2006-12-12 7:28 pmdylansmrjones
Personally I have some misgivings about this trial. It seems to me to be a pretty dead horse, they are beating.
True, the MS policy of deleting emails on weekly basis is problematic, and the same goes for it’s policy towards OEM’s, but the charges against Microsoft seems somewhat too much for me.
2006-12-13 3:48 amkaiwai
What problems with OEMs? the fact that these OEM’s CHOOSE to enter an exclusive contract with Microsoft in return for lower per-unit Windows pricing? shock bloody horror!
I’m sorry, but the OEM whining is nothing more than negotiating via the media; paint Microsoft as the big bad bully of the IT world, and hope that the outcry will force Microsoft to lower their prices even more!
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again; I owned my own computer assembly company, and I *too* was offered such an exclusive contract; it offered a significant reduction in the cost of Windows licencing in favour of me going exclusive with Microsoft.
I *CHOSE* not to go exclusive because it would not only hamstrung by business into only offering Microsoft solutions, but I would have been put into a position where by potential customers who wanted another solution, I could not serve, and thus make a buck.
The ‘big boys’ chose to pay the exclusive contract game, and they only have themselves to blame; they *could* have chosen my avenue and although it would have given them lower profit margins, it would have given them the freedom to differentiate their product line up by also offering other operating systems and competiting products.
All Microsoft did was offer enticements; install this and we’ll give you this amount of money, go exclusive, and we’ll cut the cost of your licence; if the OEM’s don’t have the back bone to say no, then they only have themselves to blame for their inaction.
2006-12-13 10:07 amRayz
True, the MS policy of deleting emails on weekly basis is problematic
Which is no better or worse than Apple deleting messages from their public forums, when folk complain about their warping and/or discolouring iBooks …
2006-12-13 12:37 pmdylansmrjones
Actually it is worse. The former is a matter of deleting information on your own actions, where the other is deleting actions of other people.
If a person wants to file a complaint you do so in a formal way, and not in a public forum. The latter can be expected to be deleted. The former is usually not deleted, unless you have something to hide.
2006-12-12 7:37 pmarielb
of course he has to say that. he works for microsoft! Anyone who doesn’t work for Microsoft can be a little objective.
2006-12-12 8:16 pmbackdoc
The difference has only grown in 3 years. Reasons for buying an Apple/Mac are even more compelling.
2006-12-12 11:48 pmalcibiades
About as compelling as the reasons for switching to Pepsi from Coke. Or the other way around. Either way you are in a lock-in culture. Its just what you’re locked into, and how. But either way, its a jail.
Notice what he did not say. He did not say, I’d be using BSD or Linux. Now, those would have been firing words.
Edited 2006-12-12 23:51
2006-12-13 8:42 amhobgoblin
and then there are people that can drink both without a problem. sure, i have my preferences, but im not going to skip buying one kind if its the only kind available.
i guess you can call me a cultural agnostic
2006-12-13 2:04 pmbackdoc
Ahhh! This is the trap! The overwhelming majority of people in the world don’t have any objection to proprietary products. Sure, Apple makes proprietary products. That’s how they make a living. However, proprietary has never been my hangup. It’s been the intrusive liberties that Microsoft has taken with Windows that’s annoys the hell out of me. Rather than provide a platform for you to use to do things the way you want, they try to control the way you work. They stand in my way of doing work.
On the other hand, the BSD foundation of Mac lends itself better to choice. Running an X server, bash shell and so on are not only possible, there are convenient package managers (fink) to assist you. Apple doesn’t try to stand in the way of that. They don’t prevent you from trying to work the way you want to work.
Apple also provides bootcamp for dual booting. They promote parallels for virtual machines. They contributed significantly to Konqueror and based Safari on it.
It sounds like I own a Mac. I don’t. I wish I did. And, it will be my next computer purchase.
You have a point. Both companies provide proprietary products. It’s just that it misses the target of why the “reasons to choose Mac over Windows” gap has widened.
2006-12-12 8:19 pmsbenitezb
“and I consider it a great example of how this company can focus and do what’s right for customers.””
yeah, sure, for customers. It’s a corporation. All they do is for themselves.
2006-12-12 10:15 pmPlatformAgnostic
Unless you can legally find a way to take from your customers without giving them something in return, doing good for your customers does good for yourself. The barriers to entry in the software space are not so high that Microsoft’s monopoly is a permanent given. They keep doing “good enough” for their customers and all of their major competitors have shot themselves in the foot or exited the market.
2006-12-12 11:29 pmsbenitezb
” They keep doing “good enough” for their customers and all of their major competitors have shot themselves in the foot or exited the market.”
They keep telling their customers what’s good for them and giving that to them. But that alone doesn’t make it good, don’t you think?
There’re still major competitors, like Linux and Apple. They are still here and will be in the future, to Microsoft’s detriment. They may have shoot in their foot (Novell, Red Hat, Sun, IBM and Apple). But so did Microsoft with their never ending security problems, their higher prices, their always antiquated Windows system, their fear to openness, their lockin tactics, etcetera. Guess what, the world won’t use Microsoft only products forever.
Microsoft is not here to dominate the IT field, now there’s a stronger competition and a need for more open and standards based products. What’s left is legacy systems and legacy IT people. It’s clear Microsoft won’t just desappear, but their market and mind share will diminish with time, and the field will be leveled. Unix/Linux based systems will become more common each day, open protocols will be given the highest importance, and so the mind of IT people will be molded according to a more open vision, like most of us have come to be. It’s only a matter of time.
2006-12-12 9:52 pmiangibson
Windows Vista has turned into a phenomenal product, better than any other OS we’ve ever built and far, far better than any other software available today
Damn! There goes another one. I really should have learned by now to remove my monocle before reading OSNews!
Surely his Microsoft salary enables him to buy Mac products? No?
2006-12-12 7:31 pmdylansmrjones
In this case it’s a matter of loyalty towards your company.
If your development chief don’t want to run your OS, you have some serious issues. And that’s sort of the central part here
2006-12-12 7:44 pmNotParker
If your development chief don’t want to run your OS, you have some serious issues.
It depends. Office runs on a Mac. Microsoft made a lot of money off Apple over the years with Excel and Word and Office.
If your development chief threatens (for effect) to use the OS that also makes a lot of money for Microsoft its not quite as serious.
2006-12-12 7:52 pmarielb
I think that openoffice is a bigger threat to Microsoft than other operating systems.
Of course on a mac and linux there’s no microsoft dev tools and no IE and that’s another hit
2006-12-12 8:49 pmdylansmrjones
Now, that’s of course a point, but still he was the development chief for Windows, so… but you do have a point.
I see nothin wrong with owning other companies products, you should see the number of people at car companies that dont even own the cars they make,
There policy of deleting email is the norm at most large companies i have worked for.,
2006-12-12 8:54 pmdylansmrjones
There policy of deleting email is the norm at most large companies i have worked for.,
It says a lot about those companies
2006-12-13 3:50 amkaiwai
Hmm, I wish the US foreign policy was like that rather than the simplistic ‘you’re with us or against us’ – what about those of us who just jolly well don’t give a toss either way?
I think what that person meant was “I’d own a Mac if I didn’t work” and working for Microsoft was just some unrelated information…..implying that you can’t do real day to day work on a Mac, unless your job function is listening to music or surfing the web.
Real funny. I would buy a Mac even if I did work for MS.
Edited 2006-12-12 20:15
2006-12-13 6:17 amCrazyDude0
I don’t think you have a MAC so don’t lie. You have the same cheap GPL mentality that all software should be free…you GPL cheapstakes. So you aren’t going to buy a MAC you cheapo.
As ESR said, the only way in GPL to make money is through support so it promotes companies to write hard to use software…LOL
GPL sucks and so does LinSux…
2006-12-13 8:50 amxiaokj
Well, pirated windows is also cheap, and crazy dudes buy them.
Well, calling people cheapskates is the sure way to show that you have nothing concrete to back yourself up, except the name-calling.
Well, if you are going to write hard-to-use software, nobody sane will switch from windows to your software, which means you can’t even support your software.
Well, GPL’ed software tends to have users who are also developers. Will the users of a piece of software want to make the software hard-to-use?
Well, we seem to have a fanboy with cheap arguments.
2006-12-13 9:55 amarielb
I don’t think all software should be free as in $. I’d buy software if the source was open and I could do what I want for my own use. Install it on as many computers as I want. Get someone to fix bugs, etc. In other words, I want real ownership.
On the other hand lots of people have no problem getting closed source apps for free. I know how to get those apps too. But that’s wrong so I don’t do it.
You have no problem being locked in by Apple. I’m tired of being screwed over and over again by something I paid good money on.
Edited 2006-12-13 09:59
2006-12-13 11:25 amtwenex
Not worth replying to.
…because I would have bought an Allchin back then if he hadn’t worked for Microsoft.
buy a flippin mac anyway. whats Microsoft gunna do, fire him? it would be illegal under such circumstances.
It’s been Microsoft’s ongoing corporate culture since the mid to late 1970s that they give the customer what they have, not what the customer wants or needs. This happened long before they did applications or operating systems.
The fact that they’re willing to change at all probably stems from a bit of worry that various companies are chipping away at their stronghold. It’s not much but they have a looser grip on the world than they had 10 years ago.
Allchin might be willing to buy a Mac (or not, depending on the day and external pressures) but it doesn’t matter. It only matters that he manages the group to create something better than the last iteration of Windows.
If he truly believes that Vista is better than any other software, I think he needs to re-evaluate his metrics.
As someone’s already mentioned – why didn’t he *JUST* buy a Mac? For the fun of it? It’s much cheaper than a private jet or a helicopter, or even a decent car. Why be so crazy about it? Like the moment you buy it changes your sexual orientation or something…
…the difference between an OS and a computer.
Why whould he not buy a Mac today? They are a great machine and priced nicely too (he certainly wouldn’t have a problem buying one that’s for sure).
His reason was that Vista has come a long way, but as you can run Vista naviely on a Mac (or via a vm), that’s not a reason…
I think he originally meant to say he wouldn’t buy OS X now (which personally I don’t think is true either ;-)…
2006-12-13 12:29 amDigitalAxis
Three years ago (when the statement was made) Mac OS X only ran on PowerPC machines; his conflating an OS with a computer is valid, though admittedly not accurate.
As for why he didn’t just buy the computer… uh, I thought the point was that three years ago Allchin thought Mac OS X was more cohesive than Windows Vista was; not that he wanted to buy a Mac (and working for Microsoft would prevent him somehow?)
Now, DOES he have a Mac? Possible, probable, who cares? I’m sure if he wanted one he could just get one. I doubt Microsoft prohibits curiosity in its employees. (How could they copy OS X if they did’t have access to any, right?) Hey, Microsoft itself has a division that develops software for Macs; I’m SURE they run Apple computers there.
I guess I wouldn’t be too terribly shocked to find out that somewhere in Bill Gates’ probably large collection of computers there’s one running Linux… hell, maybe even Debian. Note I didn’t say he implicitly likes it, he might just be interested in the competition. Bill Gates was reported as having tried Firefox ( really need to find that quote), but not being particularly impressed by it. In the same way I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Linus Torvalds has used Windows from time to time.
Anyway, I hope nobody thinks things are that black and white… it’s pretty much a strawman argument.
I bet that’s what he tells to his customers and MS administration. If someone entered his house I bet they would find Macs there…
Um, James Allchin said he would do this three years ago, if he weren’t a Microsoft employee, but not today.
I fail to see how this is news.
So are we to believe that if you know something about OS’s that you get repremanded at Microsoft? Hardly. I think he own’s a Mac Pro desktop, a Linux Laptop and a Solaris Server. That’s if he actually preports to be an expert.
“Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft’s platform group, will step down at the end of January.”
And then he can show the world his Mac…
It would be nice to have the money these guys have and waste …
It is in these company memos that you see what people truly think, despite all the damage control and “clarifications” that may be issued after the fact.
The truth is that Windows Vista was “reset” in mid 2004, which means that they had less than two years to develop a huge, by their own definition, upgrade, which means that Microsoft seems to be incapable of allocating and managing development resources and making sure that the software produced is efficient and as bug-free as possible.
These are not my words. Allchin himself said so, only to correct himself two years later to make sure that Windows Vista does not turn into an absolute disaster?
Who here believes after Allchin’s statements or after reading about the never-ending bureaucratic madness that led to the slow and clumsy implementation of the shut-down button in Vista that Microsoft was able to turn the sinking Vista ship in less than two years and produced a stellar product?
Please. We know better. The only thing Microsoft has going for itself is its monopoly position with OEMs and the fact that lots of so-called “techs” make a small living from constantly re-installing virus-infected windows PCs.
Where’s the problem? Most Microsoft employees use Google.
They are so phony over at MS.
So scared of Linux now that they want to push Windows onto OLPC machines!
After Bill Gates dogged the project as stupid they now are worried that the Linux install base could catch up to windows if they put a billion OLPC machines out there with Linux on them.
Also now we can see how sucky Windows is, can’t even install on OLPC cause it’s too damn big. LOL! Need to install SC cards in them to get Windows on. LOL! And they know Windows Mobile wont work cause it doesn’t have the features.
No fun eating your own dog food when it looks and tastes like dog food.
Thom is surely going through all kinds of trouble to avoid having to link to anything remotely groklaw-related. Talk about being biased