Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Duking It Out with Rob and Dave

The Wall Street Journal posted an e-mail discussion Friday between Dave Winer and former 'Softie Robert Scoble that discusses whether Microsoft is a leader or a follower in innovation. It is a very interesting read, and well worth your time (at 2200 words, it's gonna take a few to read the whole thing).

Of course Scoble was going to take the pro-Microsoft tack, just like I would have in his position. I mean, it's a point-counterpoint piece, and Dave was obviously on the other side. But Dave said something interesting that I thought deserved attention:

Robert, I would be a lot more anxious to sing the praises of the big companies, Microsoft and Google and others, if the individuals in these companies would respect individuals who choose to push the envelope, and take the big risks that help us build new layers. This is where the disconnect has been for my entire career, first with the large mainframe companies, and then at the companies I founded and the ones my contemporaries founded (including Microsoft).

VERY telling, indeed. So, in Dave's view, it's been Dave against Microsoft for much of his career. Based on this, I draw the conclusion that at one point, someone at Microsoft disrespected one of Dave's ideas. Maybe even had the audacity to take his idea and modify it in a way they thought improved upon it.

Why do I draw that conclusion? Because I know a bunch of Microsoft developers who are frankly in awe of the stuff that people outside Microsoft come up with. A good portion of Microsoft's employees come from the acquisition of the cool things people outside Microsoft come up with. The new Microsoft tries to find ways to work with those things. The old Microsoft was a little full of itself... but that was a while ago now. Things have changed.

So maybe Dave is still carrying a grudge against Microsoft. Maybe he never had a grudge. I dunno. I just thought it was an interesting little tidbit tucked away in a great piece of writing.

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