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Microsoft encourages bloggin

Well, not entirely:  http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/2003/10/of_blogging_and.html

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Dang.  Tinyurl is getting a workout from this board.

http://tinyurl.com/ssx8

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Or maybe it will encourage people to use Mozilla Firebird, which doesn't cut off the text. :)

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Fired for posting a picture of Macs, and saying he saw them on his way to the print shop?!  That sounds f'ed up.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

US employment laws seems somewhat medieval. Fired for this is a joke.

Patrik
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"Fired for this is a joke."

Indeed it does sound ridiculous, however it appears that he was actually a temp actually employed by a temp agency. After seeing that he was acting as an "outside agent" of sorts (it does seem to be crossing a line taking pictures at your workplace for public dissemination), they opted not to use that service of the temp agency. In other words he wasn't fired.

Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Whatever Dennis.

Whatever technical definition you want to go by, the guy was told he wouldn't be collecting any money from Microsoft any longer.

He may still be on the rolls of the temp agency, but he's not getting a check from them.

 
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Yeah, I'm with "".  The details aren't important.  Microsoft is evil.  That's all you need to take away from this. 

Here's the important part of the story:

1) Some guy, who may or may not work at Microsoft did something.
2) Microsoft fired him for it (or stopped asking him to come back, either one). 
3) This guy was owed a job for life at Microsoft and they screwed him out of it.

Joe Blandy
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Hey guys,

Maybe we could have a civil, reasonable, intelligent discussion instead of turning this into another "MS:  Good vs. Evil" discussion?  Pretty please?  The story is now on slashdot, if you just want to do some trolling.

Here's the gist of the story, copied from the guy's post, it begins after being called into his manager's office:

>"Okay, here's the first question. Is this page," and here
>he turned his monitor towards me, letting me see
>my "Even Microsoft wants G5s" post from last
>Thursday, "hosted on any Microsoft computer? Or is it on
>your own?"

>"It's on mine. Well, it's on a hosted site that I pay for, but
>no, it's not on anything of Microsoft's."
>
>"Good. That means that as it's your site on your own
>server, you have the right to say anything you want.
>Unfortunately, Microsoft has the right to decide that
>because of what you said, you're no longer welcome on
>the Microsoft campus."
>
>And that simply, as of about 2pm today, I once again
>joined the ranks of the unemployed.

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

He was actually fired not for a post about Macs, but because he took a picture of the campus and MS Security considered that a security violation.

Johnny Simmson
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

It doesn't seem to be _just_ the photos, he also posted that he worked in the MS Copy shop and it was located in the same building as shipping.

IMNSHO, posting photos would be a no-no but actually adding information about the layout of the campus is enough reason to let a temp go.

RocketJeff
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

---" he also posted that he worked in the MS Copy shop and it was located in the same building as shipping. "---

have Homeland Securtiy been notified. The thought of Osama Bin Laden getting hold of a MS Bob transfer from the print shop and a copy of Encarta Premium from shipping fills me with trepidation.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Gee, only Microsoft would do something like this...

I'm sure that if my friend who works in processor design at Intel took pictures of the Unix boxes they use, and put it up on the web with some message telling he worked there and Intel can't live without non-Intel processors, they'd all have a good laugh and go out for iced cream.

My goodness.  If you need to make up some belief that Microsoft is so different and evil, you need serious help.

The same thing would happen at Sun, IBM, and most anywhere else if someone made a public statement that they relied on their competitors.  With pictures from inside the company!

It's not like he's a valued employee.  He's a temp that works in the copy center.  Oops, that's "worked".  Microsoft owes him nothing.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Microsoft did the right thing

apw
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Microsoft did a foolish thing.

Some temp in the copy shop took some photos of a delivery of G5 macs.  Not very interesting, nobody notices.

If somebody should happen upon the post, they would think: "Microsoft sell Office for the Mac.  Of course they need G5s".

Microsoft fire a temp in the copy shop for taking photos of a delivery of G5 macs.  Front page news.

All of the people that have followed the link think:  Why are Microsoft so worried about about people knowing that they use G5s.  Grief, those guys are heavy handed employers.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Microsoft employees can't blow their noses without a slashdot article bashing them.

Should they just abandon all corporate policy to avoid bad media?

Good leaders (political and business) don't simply follow the sway of the public.  They do what's best regardless of bad press.

Amazingly, despite all their bad publicity (which is now daily), Microsoft seems to still dominate the software market.

Maybe their products aren't so bad as slashdot thinks?

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

It's not about microsoft's products.

Microsoft has actively encouraged their employees to blog, see Scoble et al.

Now a temp posts something they don't like, so the dude gets axed.

I wonder if they would've fired him if he'd been an employee instead of a temp?

It definitely sends a message to the other bloggers, or should.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

You're probably right about whether he would be fired if he were a real employee.  In that case, it may cost more to fire him than to reprimand him.

Has anyone looked at the picture?  There's a dozen or more machines pictured.

That wouldn't suggest someone there is going to use a Mac as his central system.  It looks like MS is investing for development on the platform.

The Security department calls it a breach of security.  It is!  MS probably has a new project involving Macs, and this kid spilled it to all competitors.  Now people are going to snoop asking, "So what are you developing with all those Macs?  New Office? Media Player? What, what, what?"  As soon as someone finds out, it'll be on the Net, and Microsoft may lose a competitive advantage.

If that's not grounds for releasing a temp, I don't know what is.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

You also have to consider the importance of Microsoft's image.

The image should be user-centric, friendly and dynamic.

Even without the conspiracy theorists their image is increasingly becoming corportate, arrogant and inflexible.

This event reinforces the latter.  Regardless of the truth behind it all, this is bad PR.

Ged Byrne
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Microsoft spends big bucks about their image.  But their image to whom?

Microsoft cares about their image with the following: governments, developers, and users.  They do not care about their image with Slashdot.

For the governments, they donate millions in computers, settling lawsuits and showing source code.

For developers, they provide excellent development tools (Visual Studio for a reasonable price, and SDKs for free).  My only admitted exception is SourceSafe, which needs a serious overhaul.  But I digress.

For home users, Windows XP Home is still a reasonable price.  For corporate users, XP Pro is reasonably priced.

They will never try to appeal to the Slashdot crowd (who I consider composed of many web and Linux users, who will never use Microsoft products ever, because they think of themselves as Luke Skywalker, and Bill Gates as the Emporer), because there is nothing they could ever do to please them.  Even if Microsoft went open-source and had the most secure and bug free software ever developed, they would resist saying they're just copying Linux and trying to destroy them using monopolistic strategies, i.e. beating them at their own game.

As far as the news media is concerned, they refuse to report things regarded as "non-contraversial".  So all MS reports are bugs, security threats, and lawsuits.  Shoot, you don't hear anything about the huge success the US is having in building Iraq's schools, hospitals, and communities.  You only hear about dead soldiers and car bombs.

Like Slashdot, it's pointless for MS to appeal to media, since that effort would be in vain.  It's better spent on improving their products.

Conspiracy Anti-Theorist
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The reason they probably had all those macs is that outside of Apple they are probably the biggest developer of mac software.

Since MS has so unofficially endorsed blogging, I imagine somebody in MS Security is getting their ass reamed right about now.


Wednesday, October 29, 2003

It sounds like the guy might have violated a nondisclosure agreement.

Anonymous
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

They *do* still advertize on slashdot, however. ;)

Which is probably because there are a lot of folks who are not anti-microsoft who read, they just don't comment..

Now, if I were Apple, I'd be hiring him right now.  Great propaganda boost. ;)

Flamebait Sr.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

15 machines in a 50,000 person company doesn't mean that they going to develop something on macs.

it's maybe enough to test a patch for them

name not available
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Dunno. Where I work I'm not even allowed to tell anyone, even in an anonymous online survey, anything about my salary.

Anyway, I wonder what'd happened if this topic's title were "ACME Inc. encourages bloggin", and this guy were a temp at a ACME Inc. which produces XYZ(tm) ...

Johnny Bravo
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

----"Where I work I'm not even allowed to tell anyone, even in an anonymous online survey, anything about my salary."-----

That's because they're either screwing you, or screwing others in the company, and don't want you to go around comparing what you get.

Fun when you apply for a mortgage though!

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

"Where I work I'm not even allowed to tell anyone, even in an anonymous online survey, anything about my salary."

This is illegal in the USA, as I recall.  Seems like there was a dicsussion about this here a while back.  There's some kind of Federal law that explicitly forbids companies from retaliating against employees for discussing their salaries.

Maybe Philo can weigh in on this...  :)

Grumpy Old-Timer
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Also must make it fun to fill out taxes:

mb
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Maybe it wasn't about the Macs. Maybe it was about the photo of the campus? Also realize that I'll bet a case of beer the termination came from MS security, not Bill Gates.

My thinking is that there's a security directive at MS that says "do not publish photos of the MS campus without permission" - it is probably in a guideline handbook that Mr. Temp signed a page saying he'd read and would abide by.

So - pic is published, comes to MS Security's attention, machine grumbles into motion, and Temp guy is terminated, in accordance with standard policy.

Now that the backlash has started, how they deal with it will be interesting.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Philo

You definitely know about law eh?

O'my
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I'm not sure what prompted THAT comment - I posted mine while GOT was posting his.

Regarding any type of anti-retaliation statute, let me specify I'm not a labor attorney.
I can't find anything in a quick perusal of the US Code or Virginia Statutes, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. However, I'm always wary of claims that an employer *cannot* fire someone for [x] activity on their part - that list of prohibitions is pretty short and distinguished.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

I don't have a lot of remorse for the temp in this case.  This shows bad judgement.  Most tech firms would have done the same thing.  This would have probably been enough to get a direct response from Steve Jobs, had he showed dell boxes showing up on Apple's doorstep. 

I remember one time back in 1995 (boy I sound old now).  The web had just started coming into wide use.  I was interning at a local company, and worked on one of their new products.  I took some pictures from the public marketing brochure and put it on my online resume, which is totally common now a days. 

Well, they got a call from perspective customer saying they say the product on the 'Internet' and wanted more information. 

It was enough to get the attention of the President of the company.  I should have realized right then and there that this internet thing was going to be HUGE!

christopher baus (www.summitsage.com)
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

> I can't find anything in a quick perusal of the US Code or Virginia Statutes, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. However, I'm always wary of claims that an employer *cannot* fire someone for [x] activity on their part - that list of prohibitions is pretty short and distinguished. <

I think that this may fall under the National Labor Relations Act.  The NLRA  generally prohibits retaliation against employees for collective organizing (which includes general grievances among employees about working conditions -- it isn't strictly limited to union organizing.)

I vaguely remember my Employment Law professor from several years back making a comment that this statute has been interpreted this to include discussions between employees about salaries.  This means that an employer couldn't relatiate against one employee if that employee tells another how much he's earning.  Obviously, my fuzzy memory does not constitute legal advice.  <g>

Robert Jacobson
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Yep, it wasn't about the Macs, it was about the picture of the CAMPUS, and the order came from MS Security.


Thursday, October 30, 2003

Good grief, we have some amazingly daft people here.

Taking a photo of the inside of workplace, particularly if it's a large corporation, and blasting it all over the Internet is just stupid, stupid, stupid. This chucklehead deserves what he got: Fired.

I consult for a Fortune 50 corporation. I can't even imagine pulling a stunt like that, and it amazes me that anyone with an ounce of objectivity thinks this guy got shafted.

Mark Hoffman
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Yeah, but in a Fortune 50 corporation you've already been brainwashed into not taking longer than 15 minutes for a break, etc...


Thursday, October 30, 2003

Two words:  TPS reports

OT
Thursday, October 30, 2003

I took a bunch of pictures of the data center where I work to show to friends & family (yeah, I'm a nerd).  My boss, the owner, didn't give a sh*t.  I've worked for a company that had 300 employees once, and I'll never do it again.  This should probably be a seperate post, but my god those companies drain me.

OT
Thursday, October 30, 2003

>Two words:  TPS reports

Um, yeah. Im going to need you to go ahead and get them ready by this afternoon.

What amazes me is how MS found this guys blog, and that article that got him canned. Sh*t, dont people have better things to do than to read blogs in security departments?

Amazing.

Patrik
Thursday, October 30, 2003

It was most likely that someone reported it to MS.

They don't have people out there trolling for bad PR.

Walt
Thursday, October 30, 2003

OT wrote: "My boss, the owner, didn't give a sh*t."

Most Fortune 500 companies don't have a boss, the owner to make binding decisions like that. Most CEO's or Presidents play the fun game of politics to appease the stockholders and boards and would either not get into the nitty gritty of such a low-level decision or risk lawsuits/favoritism/bad press at making rash changes to company-wide policy.

Does working for a corporation make one mindless? Yes, probably, but what do you expect when we all work to protect and make profit for a Corporate Entity (a non-person)? We need to act like non-person's ourselves.

m
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Hey 'm', that was exactly my point.  Though I've never worked for a publicly traded company, I have worked for a fairly large company and hated the beauracracy.  Leaving that world for a startup was once of the few good decisions I seem to have made in my career.

OT
Thursday, October 30, 2003

From the UK, to me this idea about forbidding pictures of the work 'campus' seems totally over the top - I'd be amazed if there weren't quite a number of photo's of the same sort of thing already available in such information as corporate investor packs, etc...

Gwyn Evans
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Particularly as all the photo shows is the back end of a lorry in a loading bay.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Stephen!  Could you imagine what could happen if international terrorists saw that picture!?  Or worse yet, LINUX PEOPLE!!!


Friday, October 31, 2003

Gwyn - yes, taken by the PR staff.

For the guy who posted the pic, it's very simple: there's a rule that says "don't publish pics of the campus without permission" and he broke it. Break the rule, lose the job. It's really fairly simple for most adults to follow.

As for "isn't that a silly rule" - in this case, perhaps. But do you think the average early 20's wild thing hired by MS will have the presence of mind to check the BACKGROUND of every pic he posts?

"Here's me and my buddies in my cube" (and notes regarding Longhorn File System bugs on the whiteboard in the background)
"Here's a pic of my desk" (and Windows source code on the monitor)

If you don't think Microsoft is the world's biggest target for corporate espionage, you haven't been paying attention. And because one little slip can really ruin the entire company's day, the more I think about it, the more I realize they HAVE to be hardcore about the "no pics" policy.

Philo

Philo
Friday, October 31, 2003

Philo,
What's your source for MS's internal 'no pics' policy?
Did you work there or do you have a link or something?


Friday, October 31, 2003

Nope - if you'll read my earlier post I stated it was a hypothetical.

I used Occam's Razor - that's the solution that makes the most sense to me - any corporation with R&D onsite and half a brain will have a "no photos" policy, and any security department that's worth their pay will enforce it.

Add to that the idea that MS is *very* press sensitive, so firing a temp with a popular blog for the content of the photos would be silly, and I reason there's a "no pics on campus" policy that is strictly enforced.

But yes, just my intuition. No inside knowledge.

Philo

Philo
Friday, October 31, 2003

Philo's conjecture is correct -- Microsoft has a "no photos" policy.  It is seldom enforced, but then again, most of the photos taken on campus are of people's parents standing in front of the big fountain by building 8.

Eric Lippert
Friday, October 31, 2003

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