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Did Amazon Induce Vista's Premature Birth?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the ready-or-not-here-i-come dept.

Windows 296

theodp writes "A recent Amazon SEC filing sheds light on the puzzling departure of Microsoft Sr. VP Brian Valentine in Sept. 2006. Valentine is the Gen. George Patton-like figure charged with pushing Vista developers, who dumped the still not-ready-for-prime-time OS into RC1 status as he bolted for a new gig at Amazon. Having repeatedly assured everyone that Valentine was staying with the company post-Vista, Microsoft backpedaled and explained that Valentine decided to leave since the company had shipped a near-final version of Vista. Not so. Although analysts fell for the PR line, it seems Valentine had actually signed an Employment Agreement way back in June calling for him to be on board at Amazon on Sept. 11 if he wanted to pick up a $1.7M signing bonus, $150K base salary, another $500K bonus, and 400K shares of Amazon stock (now worth almost $30M). Who says you have to shell out $999.95 for MS-Project to come up with accurate planned completion dates?"

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May be the best decision he ever made. (5, Insightful)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507676)

Can't fault a guy for makin' money.

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (3, Insightful)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507704)

Hit and run; the consistent meme in corporate strategy.

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (2, Insightful)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507872)

Hit and run; the consistent meme in corporate strategy.
Hit and run yes, but that doesn't explain why Vista still went out the door? Couldn't he have just quit? Couldn't Microsoft said no, it's not ready? I mean this still doesn't explain why Vista was out the door before the code was ready.

I didn't RTFA either. So anyone care to shine some light on this?

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508072)

It's implied right in the summary. Microsoft didn't want investors to lose confidence in Vista, so they shipped it early to coincide with Valentine's departure. That way it looks like Valentine left because the product was ready rather than leaving because the project was going down the drain.

Think of it this way: What does it say when a coach of a sports team decides to jump ship to another team mid-season?

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (3, Funny)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508160)

Ahhh thank you, I failed to remember the inherit sheep like behavior of investors. :)

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (1)

desmodromic (30262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508232)

the inherit sheep like behavior of investors
Do they? which sheep?

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (3, Funny)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508164)

Vista was delayed so long anyway, would another dozen years really make a difference? I should think an OS that's not ready is worse for investor confidence than delays people are already used to.

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508536)

So, vista was still born, and almost still-birthed?

Sorta like Rosemary's Baby?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otPyEsObI1M [youtube.com]

http://www.filmsite.org/rosem.html [filmsite.org]

Push the tush, then ram the pram...

Or, sorta like the Medusa Touch?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rigyymOrfxw [youtube.com]

Born, then hurt, then brain-dead...

Coming to a church of the poisoned mind near you..

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507956)

Hit and run; the consistent meme in corporate strategy.

I'd say it's closer to shit and run ...

May be the best decision he NEVER made. (5, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508166)

Hit and run; the consistent meme in corporate strategy.
The thing is that he didn't release Vista, just RC1. RC1 isn't the shipping OS. Sounds like someone still at Microsoft is trying to point the blame at someone who left a year before. This isn't Hit and Run, it's Duck and Cover.

Re:May be the best decision he NEVER made. (4, Funny)

slapout (93640) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508270)

"RC1 isn't the shipping OS"

You sure about that?

Re:May be the best decision he NEVER made. (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508498)

"RC1 isn't the shipping OS"

You sure about that?
"...who dumped the still not-ready-for-prime-time OS into RC1 status as he bolted for a new gig at Amazon."

or was that just a Stab at Microsoft and Vista.

BTW, I am on a Fedora box.

Re:May be the best decision he NEVER made. (4, Informative)

Afecks (899057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508448)

In a release candidate, everything is supposed to be locked down. There should not be any code changes only minor corrections such as typographical errors. If you are in RC1 and still adding or rewriting code then you've screwed the pooch.

Maybe the best decision he made... maybe... (5, Insightful)

Jack Conrad (898450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507760)

And yes, yes you can fault people for making money.

Re:Maybe the best decision he made... maybe... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507900)

You can only fault the guy for not finishing his obligations with his current company and choosing to cut and run to make the most money. On the other hand companies (at least in the US) have no loyalty to their employees anymore either. I think bad companies and bad employees and managers deserve one another.

(anonymous because I work for one of mentioned companies)

Yes, you can fault people for making to much money (0, Redundant)

Jack Conrad (898450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508570)

...it all depends on the situation. If you have access to a income with which you can reasonably support yourself and your kids and, optionally, donate to charities you find worthwhile, then you can't be faulted for making that income. If you make more, you are able to be faulted. Whether or not he can be faulted for the income he has received, I do not know. As I do not know the individual, or what he needs the money for, I can't make that judgment. However, that does not mean that such a judgment could not be rendered.

Re:Maybe the best decision he made... maybe... (5, Funny)

tubapro12 (896596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508032)

you can fault people for making money.
Yep, its called counterfeiting.

Re:Maybe the best decision he made... maybe... (4, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508080)

And yes, yes you can fault people for making money.


Well, you can fault people for what they do to make money. But just making money?

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507962)

So, what's he gonna do at Amazon? Push Red Hat?

Who said Vista was rushed? (2, Informative)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508020)

Vista was in development for five years or so and it's still broken a year later. No one can be faulted for a month or two in that time frame. The problem was more in the process itself and all sorts of other executive characters have left the Soft over it. Non free software development, especially Microsoft style development, is broken.

Re:May be the best decision he ever made. (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508438)

Well, as a professional you shouldn't screw the company you're leaving.. unless they screwed you first of course.

So what was Leoptard's excuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508452)

Valentine is the Gen. George Patton-like figure charged with pushing Vista developers, who dumped the still not-ready-for-prime-time OS into RC1 status as he bolted for a new gig at Amazon.


Ok... so does that mean Amazon also stole away someone from Apple, some magical Patton-like figure pushing Leoptard developers?

There's no denying that Leoptard was even less ready for prime time than, say, Vista. At least Vista wasn't blue-screening people performing upgrades.

BTW... how does putting something into RC1 magically mean it's going to be released "too" early? I seriously doubt that dude was entirely responsible for giving a yea/nay on a release.

Blah blah blah, more rabid anti-MS hate from Shitslot.

New improved "Lies, damn lies, and..." (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507680)

Although analysts fell for the PR line

There are lies, damn lies, and material misstatements to the investment community.

Re:New improved "Lies, damn lies, and..." (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507786)

They didn't fall for it very long. MSFT is down 2 points and still on a backslide.

Who Cares?!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507692)

Exactly what is the news value in this? That executives jump ship and chase the last dollar? That's nothing new.

BTW, I like how slashdot posts more Microsoft bashing news than Linux news on a regular basis now. Its sad how this site has gone down the tubes.

Re:Who Cares?!! (4, Funny)

Hooya (518216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507798)

We leave linux bashing to Forbes, The Yankee Group, Mr Enderle etc. They are much better at it. :)

Moronic mods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508194)

How the hell is a basic lack of reading comprehension "Insightful"? The original poster asked about general Linux news, not Linux bashing.

Well ... duh! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507876)

Its sad how this site has gone down the tubes.

How else would it get to our computers?

The reason? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507696)

So the reason it was rushed out prematurely wasn't because it was already 4 years late and falling further and further behind the competition, then?

Re:The reason? (3, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507724)

What competition? OS X? Linux?

The only real competition Vista has is XP.

Re:The reason? (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507832)

You are absolutely correct. Only XP can compete with VISTA on a level of customer dissatisfaction that OSX and Linux could never hope to accomplish.

Re:The reason? (2, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508352)

Yep, that is why you see Vista people moving to Linux in droves. In actuality, people usually "upgrade" to XP. I put that in quotes, because people on Slashdot like to say that all the time.

Sorry but I'm quite satisfied with XP. It's solid as a rock and I haven't seen a crash in years.

Re:The reason? (2, Informative)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507756)

What competition? XP?

(Maybe that's a reason it took as long as it did to ship as well.) Besides, like you imply, there indeed was pressure to "release it already" since it had been in development so long. Possibly enough pressure that even a killer offer from Amazon didn't really speed things along much more, if at all.

You miss the point (5, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507788)

People have very short memories. They see the fanfare and forget the 5 year death march.

I've seen this effect before. A manager in a company I worked for was angling for a position in a different business unit in the company. He wanted to show focus, leadership etc so he whitewashed the problems in the project he was directing and pushed for a premature release. He forced design choices that looked OK in the short term (from outside) and ignored the longterm consequences. He got the new job and a big write-up about how he had managed this project so well. Of course the project was flawed, but he did not have to clean up the mess anfd the product got canned a few months later.

Release decisions etc should not be made by exiting managers. They shopuld be made by the new management team that has to keep things going.

Re:You miss the point (3, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508074)

Release decisions etc should not be made by exiting managers. They shopuld be made by the new management team that has to keep things going.
Too fucking right! For a project as huge as Vista, I find it ludicrous that command, review, and oversight are all embodied by one individual. They're just taking his word for it?! This is one of those things I logically refuse to believe but have also come to expect in the business world.

If I knew a manager under me was looking to leave the company, I'd make sure his replacement was being trained and put in place long before the departure. How the hell can you expect any continuity in the process with people popping in and out? You can't run a fast food joint like that, let alone a major multi-billion dollar corporation.

I also would like to know what this guy does that's worth that kind of money. You'd almost thing it would have to be sexual.

Gross mis-management (3, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508144)

Yes, you would expect a bit more oversight on such a critical project with such a huge budget.

Even if the manager does not jump ship, he might get killed in a plane crash etc.

The cool thing for a ship-jumping manager is that he gets away clean. Even if he leaves a mess behind he can always twist it: "Now that I've left, everything has fallen apart. Look at how good I am! Hand me another million share options".

Grudging MS defender (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507708)

Valleywag ( the first link in TFA ) says "Valentine surely told his bosses of this fact [ that he had signed with Amazon ]." but offers no evidence to back it up. I don't really want to defend Microsoft, and while they are sure guilty of a multitude of sins, they might be innocent of this one.
Lots of people make future employment agreements without telling their current employers. Indeed, in my experience both as employee and employer, the majority do not tell.

Re:Grudging MS defender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507796)

Valentine was basically pushed out (asked to leave or be fired for having Vista go through its code restart and be so late). So it is hard to believe there was anything else going on other than firing someone whose competency was questioned.

Re:Grudging MS defender (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507870)

All of theodp's frequent submissions are like this: wild-ass conspiracy theories about Amazon with a ton of links, none of which actually support his point. In this case, no one but him is suggesting that Vista was released early because Amazon.

So... (4, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507714)

How long until Amazon OS is released?

Re: So... (3, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507740)

Nah, he's gonna rush books out before their covers are dry.

Re:So... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507804)

Its called linux, all of their servers run it.

Re:So... (3, Funny)

Lux (49200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508576)

Five years.

What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (5, Interesting)

g01d4 (888748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507722)

To make him worth that kind of money?

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (0)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507782)

Valentine holds a B.S. in computer science from Eastern Washington University.

Fuck yea, what more do you need to know?

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (4, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507820)

He had the foresight to make himself am essential part of company A at exactly the time that company B wanted to begin competing with A.

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508170)

I'm not sure what Amazon is doing to compete with Microsoft. I hardly think the Amazon MP3 thing is something that can really be called competition. Even the Kindle isn't much either.

Re: (1)

Jack Conrad (898450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507846)

He's made of gold.

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507920)

How about: He knows when to jump from a sinking ship.

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (5, Informative)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508008)

Valentine is the guy who led Exchange in the 90s as it took over corporate mail servers and then led the Windows releases of 2K (still my favorite), XP, and apparently Vista. Love or hate the products, he's been in charge of groups who have shipped some big stuff.

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (5, Interesting)

rwalton (1243798) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508468)

He also has a very engaging style of management. Instead of leading from afar he would hold weekly team meetings where he would give everybody the projects status, address concerns, and then kick off the festivities with clips from the weekly world news. The comedy skits he and Ian MacDonald would do were pretty funny most of the time.

He projects the work hard play hard mentality. He always kept the team meetings stocked with several kegs of beer and always told the employees that if they drank too much take a cab home and expense it.

I would say he was my favorite higher level manager at Microsoft.

----- Rom

Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508046)

He wrote Vista by himself, so they had to ship it when he left. Sure, it's trash, but writting that much code is impressive.

Amazon has a contract for him to write books -- he should be good for two novels a week.

Easy answer (2, Insightful)

siesindallerscheisse (1238976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508090)

"To make him worth that kind of money?"

It's what he convinced someone to pay him.

What you were expecting someone to give you something objective so you could rant about no one being worth that much? Sorry, but my metric is the one that matters, and it says he's worth what he got.

Re:Easy answer (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508126)

thank you. really the market has decided his worth. Obviously you and I wouldn't pay that much to hire the guy, but all he needs is 1 company to pay him a crazy salary. And in this case he's found TWO that are willing to pay.

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508560)

When someone asks why something is worth so much, saying that it's what the market prices it at, is a tawdry. What they want to know is why the market prices something that high.

So, why was Amazon willing to pay that much?

Re:Easy answer (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508616)

a number of reasons. first, it indemnifies management somewhat to hire a big name with a big salary when something goes wrong. second, a person with a big salary usually has access to industry information that us peons are not normally privy to. third, most of these companies are mental and don't make rational decisions. fourth, because so many companies are mental you have to pay a high price for good people and for bad people and there is no easy way to sort the good and bad.

Given that he has released big products successfully it's safe to say he's a good choice. I think in the current market a bad guy would have cost just as much to hire.

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508598)

Sorry, jerk. Because he told some lies, and some friend of his told some lies, does not worth or value make.



Re:What is so uniquely brilliant about this guy... (1)

matria (157464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508346)

What did bringing him in do to Amazon's stock? If it caused it to twitch even a little bit, they profited nicely out of the deal. He doesn't need to do anything at all afterwards.

Stop it! (5, Funny)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507750)

He didn`t do it for the money - he wanted the users to have a modern, lightweight operating system with great features like Aq...Aero, media controlled internet bandwith, and gazillions of bl...features. The system is very mature and st

Now we see (1)

thefourthwall (562475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507774)

the Law of Unintended Consequences in action: because he wanted out and extra money, we're supposed to buy the line that Vista's actually a good OS. Valentine wanted to make a little extra dough, but asked us to pay the cost.

Amazon made the big mistake here... (5, Insightful)

puff3456 (898964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507776)

If he is willing to push an unfinished product to market at a huge loss to his company just so that he can leave his current post for a higher paying one, what is to say he won't simply rinse and repeat. People like this are more a liability than an asset.

Re:Amazon made the big mistake here... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507840)

With the tidy sum he got from Amazon, I doubt he'll be doing much "work".

It's a matter of spin (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508200)

Sure he'll rinse and repeat, but who's to know?

If he's left behind a mess then all he has to do to spin it his way is this: "Gee it looks like those guys at MS are really struggling since I left. That just shows how good I am."

Re:Amazon made the big mistake here... (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508280)

Except nobody cares; and the folks hiring him are likely of the same character.

Re:Amazon made the big mistake here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508568)

What the hell makes this insightful? If you were offered significantly more than you currently make you wouldn't take it because it would hurt your company? Right.

Re:Amazon made the big mistake here... (4, Interesting)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508708)

I think the point is that Valentine decided to leave, and MS knew that would look bad to investors. So MS pushed Vista out the door to give investors the impression that Valentine was leaving because there was nothing more to do on Vista.

Maybe Amazon just payed him to quit Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508720)

and doesn't really have any big plans for him otherwise. He turned traitor against MS for money and now the damage is done. He's already earned his paycheck. I doubt very seriously if Amazon will put this guy in charge of any thing significant. They've already got their return on investment from this guy. They'll just put him in the corner somewhere until he goes somewhere else or his contract runs out. They don't need him anymore.

OK why do reviews say RC1 sucks? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507778)

Well, then I would expect RC1 to be stable and have smooth instantly responsive performance like the mac does on lesser hardware.

Re:OK why do reviews say RC1 sucks? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507902)

I think you are confusing "RC1" (Release Candidate 1, i.e., the first trial release of Vista, which happened 17 months ago) with "SP1" (Service Pack 1, i.e., the first major overhaul of Vista after its release (which Microsoft is still trying to get out the door, with mixed results).

Yes I made a typo, sorry about that (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507926)

Sorry about the typo. I did mean SP1.

Typo above, RC1 should be SP1 (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507970)

as chris pointed out

Project link... (3, Interesting)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507790)

What's with the MS Project link?

One Moment Please...

To help optimize how your Web pages are displayed, we are checking to see if a 2007 Microsoft Office program is installed.

If this page does not automatically redirect, you have scripts disabled. See more information on scripts.

Follow this link if the page is not redirected.
So they need to check whether I have Office installed just so I can see the MS Project page? Interesting... (Win XP Pro + Firefox + NoScript, with JavaScript turned off for microsoft.com, produced the above page.)

Wait just a minute ... (4, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507800)

How to I get down on the action to rush out a release candidate and then leave for a large bonus and some stock options which will make me a millionaire?

I'll crank out a dodgy RC1 for tomorrow if you've got a couple of million for me too. :-P

That sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

However, somehow I'm finding myself not actually surprised to know that Vista got prematurely elevated by someone who no longer gave a shit. That has the ring of truthiness about it. :-P

Cheers

WinFS (2, Interesting)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507838)

Why did they have to rip out WinFS ..and why did they rip it out before he left .. it's not in RC1 even?

Re:WinFS (3, Informative)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507942)

Where do I begin? WinFS was never a filesystem in it's own right. It was a glommed-on database where an integrated SQL Server instance stored one table, and then NTFS stored another - and the data was never very well linked together. Frankly I was disappointed in the WinFS implementation from the very first time someone actually described how it worked. Vista is touch-and-go enough for most consumers without having WinFS - the usability problems WinFS would have brought would not have been worth it as it was. It was cut because it was not ready for prime-time - just as several cool features were in XP, and Windows 2000 before it.

Like a bad ripoff on AS-400s. (0, Offtopic)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508152)

Sounds like someone at MS read about how the AS-400 runs it's native file system. It's a DB2 instance, which is about all I know about it. Brings up questions. What does the DB2 engine use for storage. (FAT? Does converting everything to EBCDIC and back slow things down?)

Mod me off Topic please.

Re:Like a bad ripoff on AS-400s. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508518)

What does the DB2 engine use for storage. (FAT? Does converting everything to EBCDIC and back slow things down?)

It's a raw disk I/O mode in that particular case.

Re:Like a bad ripoff on AS-400s. (2, Interesting)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508636)

What does the DB2 engine use for storage.

what does Oracle use for storage? that depends. when running RAC (Real Application Clusters), we cheaped it out and used OCFS (Oracle Clustered File System), which was pretty close to just using raw devices and writing to them. typically a database doesn't need much more than a wrapper around storage, everything is stored in a proprietary/binary way anyways. a file system is just overhead or the middleman at that point.

CrockFS (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508030)

WinFS has been the "new great feature" promised in every release since the early 1990s (ie for well over ten years now). Talk is cheap, delivering something that works well is hard, which is why WinFS always gets ripped out.

Whether or not this happened ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22507842)

If Amazon can do anything to induce Vista's premature death, we'd all be much obliged.

Re:Whether or not this happened ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508340)

If Amazon can do anything to induce Vista's premature death, we'd all be much obliged

Maybe they could get a patent on clumsy bloated software.

Bad title (5, Insightful)

t33jster (1239616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507856)

If one person leaving company X for company Y and it causes causes company X's bread and butter product to suck, it's not company Y's fault. Company X should have invested in business continuity. BCP is boring, but what if instead of being hired away, he was hit by a bus or (arguably similar to the deal he got at Amazon) wins the lottery? A company 1/10th the size of Microsoft shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket.

Re:Bad title (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508658)

The trouble is, good people who get things done can be hard to come by.

Not the only factor (4, Interesting)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507904)

As I recall, a lot of companies who'd forked over lots of dollars for multi-year support agreements back around 2001 (there was some marketing phrase, I forget what) were starting to grumble that the promised new releases included in the price hadn't yet been released, and the agreements were about to expire.

This is one of the factors that prompted the early release of the "business" version of Vista in late 2006 instead of it being released along with the home version in early 2007.

Not that any businesses really wanted to touch that, but it let Microsoft say they'd lived up to their part of the agreement (in their own inimitable (innovative?) Microsoft way, of course).

Re:Not the only factor (2, Informative)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507990)

The versions licensed via Software Assurance were all available in Q4CY06 - because they are delivered electronically. There is no magic juju that happened in the first three months of 2007 that made Home any different - it was the exact same codebase - only it had been localized, had shiny media made, and been put into retail boxes.

Re:Not the only factor (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508502)

Okay, thanks for that clarification; it sort of confirms that the Software Assurance licenses were another factor driving that deadline.

Sleeps with the fishes! (2, Funny)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22507974)

Man, if I'm Microsoft and I'm generally willing to break the law to get my way when push comes to shove, I'm probably sending some guys to bust Valentine's kneecaps at a minimum.

Granted, that wouldn't help them out in the short term, but they'd lose less executives if a savage beating was part of the severance package. Hell, they probably could advertise right here on slashdot for people willing to kick a Microsoft executive in the groin for free!

Cheaper at Amazon! (5, Funny)

djcinsb (169909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508052)

"Who says you have to shell out $999.95 for MS-Project to come up with accurate planned completion dates?"

Hey, it's only $854.99 at Amazon!

Premature birth Not issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22508062)

Baby Vista Died, but look, They saved the afterbirth

Not So Premature (3, Funny)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508130)

Vista wasn't really a "premature birth". It's more like putting every other ingredient into a recipe, then trying to fix it by baking it for too long.

Re:Not So Premature (1)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508600)

I am tempted to believe this explanation but it implies that there is a whole bunch of new features that complicated the development cycle. There are only 2 features that I am aware of that are new. "Trusted computing" and Aero. Am I to believe that these to unremarkable features account for a 6 year development cycle? I would have been much more excited with a unix-like permissions system. Does vista come with a cd burning tool that handles ISOs yet?

150K is not that much (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508154)

I think many people on this site make around 2/3rd of that for their salary. $150K is not a huge salary.

Of course we don't get millions in stock and sign on bonuses either. I think the biggest bonus I ever got was 10% of my salary/year and $20K in unvested stock options.

Re:150K is not that much (5, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508222)

For top notch positions, the yearly salary is just cosmetic. Its not uncommon for high ranked managers and architects to make some silly salary like minimum wadge, but get hundreds over hundreds of thousands in bonus every year. Its a whole different ballbark from the average salaried developer monkey.

Re:150K is not that much (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508364)

Absolutely - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs [wikipedia.org] reports that Steve Jobs' salary at Apple is $1 per year. I make about $10,000 - I'd swap with Steve any day...

Re:150K is not that much (1, Redundant)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508606)

For top notch positions, the yearly salary is just cosmetic. Its not uncommon for high ranked managers and architects to make some silly salary like minimum wadge, but get hundreds over hundreds of thousands in bonus every year. Its a whole different ballbark from the average salaried developer monkey.

No, I think like CEOs with far too high compensation packages, it is corporate executive management taking a page from the CEO. Screw the company, just pay me lots of cash.

If M$ has this kind of problems with their executives, perhaps they are more rotten at the core than most people even realize. And Amazon paying $30M to start? Come now, that would hire 300 programmers for a year. Or 30 for 10. I guess these companies are throwing away cash, could give it to the shareholders.

My guess both will go bust in time.

Re:150K is not that much (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508254)

I'll work for a company for free for five years if they want to give me a $1.7mil "signing bonus". For 15 years if you want to give me $30mil in stock to go with it.

The base salary is almost a joke after the other stuff.

It was an accident (3, Funny)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508184)

Amazon was just playing catch with a baseball and the ball got away. It hit Microsoft right in the womb. Shortly after Vista said "Calculating File Transfer". Microsoft and doctors thought that Vista might be in trouble so they induced the labor. Then after it was born they found out it was just a "feature". That original file transfer is still "calculating" to this day.

How quickly we forget (4, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508284)

What the article doesn't seem to mention, or remember, is all the bad press Microsoft was getting for having the DNF of Operating Systems. They were getting annual vaporware nominations, and basically looking like a bunch of idiots that couldn't get a product out the door.

There was tremendous pressure from all sides to release Vista. Don't think you can really place the blame on Valentine or Amazon for this one.

Re:How quickly we forget (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22508642)

Sure, but did it really improve things to ship Vista as it was after four years of delay? That got them bad press for the lemon on top of the bad press for the DNF.

I guess delaying for another year and releasing it in better shape would have been a smarter move.
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