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Lookout owner speaks...

http://www.softwarereality.com/soapbox/lookout.jsp#id1

blah
Friday, July 23, 2004

Telling... he basically admits that they sold out because they were afraid Microsoft would put them out of business with a free product. What self-respecting coder in his right mind would pull a great product like this after a buyout unless forced to?

This shows how much Microsoft has poisoned its own well by scaring away developers from the Windows platform due to the threat of being torn down if you're successful. There isn't a single investor in the business anymore that will fund an ISV developing Windows software. All those potential Windows coders who could be making a living writing interesting Windows apps are instead doing something else in a boring job and coding Linux apps in their spare time. I can't think of a more perfect example of long-term corporate suicide than what we are seeing from Microsoft today.

Neat Chi
Friday, July 23, 2004

Isn't it possible that their are ISV's that also hope to make a successful product AND hope that someday Microsoft buys them out.

Formerly someone else
Friday, July 23, 2004

Lol I just saw that Microsoft has been shamed into offering Lookout as a free download again. Undoubtedly this wouldn't have happened without Joel's article. If only all developers had his influence...

Neat Chi
Friday, July 23, 2004

The number of software shops that Microsoft has bought for more than pocket change can be counted on one hand. Good luck!

Neat Chi
Friday, July 23, 2004

See also here:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=164880

(you'll have to scroll down a bit.)

mb
Friday, July 23, 2004

Any details regarding the deal? I wonder how much they sold out for?

Yes.
Friday, July 23, 2004

Sold out for a pittance - MS caught him with some pirated develoopment tools and it was sell out or see the inside of prison for a while and watch helplessly as the world's wealthiest lawyers come by once a year to explain why you should not make parole.

IT Giant
Friday, July 23, 2004

>> Sold out for a pittance - MS caught him with some pirated develoopment tools

How do you know that?

Bored Bystander
Friday, July 23, 2004

>> Sold out for a pittance - MS caught him with some pirated develoopment tools

>How do you know that?

Yeah, how do you know that?

Yes.
Friday, July 23, 2004

That is pretty interesting because a lot of developers think they will use pirated copies of dev languages from their workplace while they try to get customers for their product and THEN buy a licensed version...

Bored Bystander
Friday, July 23, 2004

"That is pretty interesting because a lot of developers think they will use pirated copies of dev languages from their workplace while they try to get customers for their product and THEN buy a licensed version..."

Mac developers don't need to worry about that, 'cause the dev tools are free with the OS. At least, it's not a problem if they're using the released OS and not an unreleased, pirated beta OS they downloaded from bittorrent.

On the downside, there's that "trying to get customers" part...

Jon Hendry
Friday, July 23, 2004

Whoever thinks MS had to offer up that download b/c this board has a bloated perception of this small community.  Hate to burst your bubble.

Christopher Hester
Friday, July 23, 2004

"he basically admits that they sold out because they were afraid Microsoft would put them out of business with a free product."

That's the part I don't get.  I don't mean this as Microsoft bashing -- I'm just trying to understand what the heck is going on.

If Microsoft crushes all the other web browsers and everyone switches to Internet Explorer, the increase in revenue for Microsoft is exactly zero, (since IE is included with Windows at no extra charge.)  So why attack Netscape so vigorously?

If people buy Lookout to use with Outlook, how does that hurt Microsoft?  If Microsoft comes out with a new version of Outlook that includes all the functionality of Lookout, and as a result,  puts Lookout out of business, what's the benefit for Microsoft?

Go Corp developes a pen-based platform.  Microsoft announces their own version,  eveyone says "OK, we'll pass on this new company and wait for the product from big established company".  This drives Go of business.  3 months after Go folds, Microsoft kills their product.  Why?  Other than killing Go, what did they accomplish?

Is there a startegy behnd Microsoft's bunsiness methods?  Or is it just pure ego -- crushing other companies just because they can?

Harry Krishna
Friday, July 23, 2004

Fire and motion, baby

igor
Friday, July 23, 2004

Netscape was attacked because the browser was seen (rightly or wrongly) to be of strategic importance as a potential platform replacement, i.e. (pun intended) an end-run around the Windows OS monopoly.

When making these decisions, money is not the immediate concern for Microsoft. The money comes from the Windows OS monopoly, and anything seen to benefit that monopoliy is a strategy to be pursued by Microsoft. What they want is control not only of the ecosystem (the platform), but of all the organisms in it (the apps). Any bit of control that anyone else has over anything to do with Windows is a threat to to them. At heart, Microsoft is an autistic organization (I wouldn't go so far as to say psychopathic because their failing is more of a failing of amorality than immorality).

Neat Chi
Friday, July 23, 2004

It said in the post why MS wanted to put this plugin into Outlook - so people wouldn't go in to other email programs. Sheesh. Don't you people read?

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, July 23, 2004

"Go Corp developes a pen-based platform.  Microsoft announces their own version,  eveyone says "OK, we'll pass on this new company and wait for the product from big established company". "


Hmmm... Microsoft announced this back in,what, 1990 or something?  And they came out with something 10 years or so later?


I think Microsoftware deliberately does this (they invented vaporware, practically) to stifle competition.

Look at what happened to ECCO PRO. That is the BEST PIM  I've ever seen (and I've looked at dozens). They close up shop b/c they heard MS was developing a PIM. Ok, it's now about 7 years later and Microsoft is still working the bugs out of (One Note?).

There's nothing really ILLEGAL about MS's actions,but it realy ends up hurting the customer.

The rest of the business community needs to wizen up. Or at least read the Innovator's Solution. (Wow! good book).

Mr. Analogy
Friday, July 23, 2004

"At heart, Microsoft is an autistic organization"

What's interesting is that Bill Gates exhibits a lot of the symptoms of Autism: rythmic swaying when he's concentrating, poor empathy, emotional outbursts.

If you just looked at him when he was hunched over rocking back and forth, you'd swear he was autistic.

(True, we all exhibit those at one time or another.)

Mr. Analogy
Friday, July 23, 2004

He has Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism. Organizations with a strong leader often take on the personality of that leader, of course. Microsoft is at the point where it is so powerful that it does not need to behave in an ethical manner to survive. This situation is exceptional in the life of any organization, and is why Microsoft will not survive in the long run. They rose quickly, and will fall just as quickly with the world cheering the flames. Who can name a more hated corporation in the high-tech industry?

Neat Chi
Friday, July 23, 2004

Neat Chi, maybe the world inside your head will be cheering if Microsoft falls, but I sincerely doubt the rest of the world will be, given the effect it would have on the IT industry and the world economy as a result. You are either a troll, or a very stunted individual.

.
Friday, July 23, 2004

Neat Chi:

" ... I wouldn't go so far as to say psychopathic because their failing is more of a failing of amorality than immorality)."

A tangent to your main point, perhaps, but psychopath (now more commonly sociopath) is defined as amoral behavior and the lack of a conscience, amongst other things.

Mongo
Friday, July 23, 2004

Thanks for the clarification Mongo... I had though that psycopathy necessarily involved actively immoral behavior, but more accurately is described by this paragraph:

"The psychopath is one of the most fascinating and distressing problems of human experience.  For the most part, a psychopath never remains attached to anyone or anything. They live a "predatory" lifestyle. They feel little or no regret, and little or no remorse - except when they are caught. They need relationships, but see people as obstacles to overcome and be eliminated."

That comes from this URL:

http://www.oregoncounseling.org/Handouts/PsychopathicPersonality.htm

My God, this fits Microsoft to a T, doesn't it?

Neat Chi
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Thanks, Neat, that last post clarified that you are just making shit up. I'm unable to find anything on the web that indicates Gates has AS, though I found lots of speculation.

AS and psychopathy are both clinical diagnoses. Unless you a) are professionally qualified to make such diagnoses and b) have personally interviewed Gates to determine if he meets the criteria, you should, as a matter of personal ethics, refrain from "diagnosing" him.

Zahid
Saturday, July 24, 2004

A corporation technically can't be psychopathic, psych diagnoses are for people and not fictions.

But as far as Gates having mild Asperbergers that is certainly true.

You don't need a psych evaluation to determine when someone is autistic, nor when they are schitzophrenic. Some afflictions actually manifest physical symptoms.

Shoot, most people can even tell when someone is having a heart attack! Even people who are not trained heart surgeons!

Dave Bartleby
Saturday, July 24, 2004

"Shoot, most people can even tell when someone is having a heart attack! Even people who are not trained heart surgeons!"

And if it turns out to be a bad case of gas, maybe you shouldn't have grabbed a table knife and cut their chest open...

First of all, corporations in and of themselves must be, by law, amoral. The law dictates that a corporation must act
a) in compliance with the law
b) in the best interests of its shareholders

Period. Nothing in the law about "corporations must be good citizens" or "corporations must do good works." Of course, "compliance with the law" includes complying with various consumer protection laws, but that comes under the "only if you get caught" thing.

Thus the behavior you see from many companies.

IMHO, strong, savvy CEO's recognize that companies that treat their customers well tend to be more successful - thus generous return policies, good customer service, corporate citizenship, etc.

Maybe MS had some "issues" with this idea in the past; I'm not in a position to comment. What I can tell you is that in the present security, arguing with facts instead of FUD, and customer satisfaction are serious directives from the top down. We are all evaluated on customer satisfaction (and those evaluations can affect our pay).

I can also tell you that in my experience in almost a dozen companies, I've never seen more sincerity from management about taking these things seriously.

Philo [Microsoft]

Philo
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Philo, you said:
====================================

First of all, corporations in and of themselves must be, by law, amoral. The law dictates that a corporation must act
a) in compliance with the law
b) in the best interests of its shareholders

Period. Nothing in the law about "corporations must be good citizens" or "corporations must do good works." Of course, "compliance with the law" includes complying with various consumer protection laws, but that comes under the "only if you get caught" thing.":

====================================


Philo, I don't understand your reasoning here.

You're apparently claiming that because the law does not demand that corporations be moral, the law therefore demands they be amoral? 

Alternatively, are you perhaps claiming that from complying with your condition b), corporations cannot simutaneously act both morally and in the best interests of their shareholders?  This seems dubious.

Surely, under the law, corporations can do whatever they choose, including actiing morally, barring actions contrary to your points a) and b).

Mongo
Saturday, July 24, 2004

I probably should have said:

"b) corporations cannot simultaneously choose to act both morally and in the best interests of their shareholders?"

Mongo
Saturday, July 24, 2004

A psychopathic personality can justify any twisted scheme as necessary to advance his own survival. Since when do the 'interest of the shareholders' mean only monetary gain and preclude any interest in the maintainence of a civil, moral society? Are you beginning to see why so many people see Microsoft as an example of how not to be a good citizen, Philo?

But if the only type of argument that Microsoft understands is one of self-interest, let's look at it that way. In a completely objective and amoral way, Microsoft is acting against its own self-interest by enforcing monoculture within their own ecosystem (Windows). Make any sort of profit with a Windows product and Gates will be after you with a knife. How does this encourage a healthy ecosystem? Ask any biologist what the eventual outcome will be.

Neat Chi
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Philo >>> What I can tell you is that in the present security, arguing with facts instead of FUD, and customer satisfaction are serious directives from the top down. We are all evaluated on customer satisfaction (and those evaluations can affect our pay).

A counter-example to this that comes to mind is the new license programs (software assurance, etc.)  I don't know if that was too far back to be included in "the present," but whoever was responsible for those should be getting negative pay... 

FUD per se wasn't a problem, but the facts about the new programs were too convoluted for anyone to really make heads or tails of, and customers certainly weren't very satisfied.

Ward
Saturday, July 24, 2004

"Since when do the 'interest of the shareholders' mean only monetary gain and preclude any interest in the maintainence of a civil, moral society?"

Actually, according to the law, that's exactly what it means.

Let's say BillG and Steve decided to take that $50B and pour it into "fixing" NT4. They spend the whole chunk on getting the NT4 code base modernized and bug fixed as well as providing OS-level support for USB, DVD, SATA, and modern chipsets, as well as the API support necessary to run all our modern server products. That way, nobody really needs to buy Windows 2003. These fixes are offered as service packs for free.

Money spent in the good-hearted interest of people who bought software from us five years ago.

Of course, both revenues and the stock price would take a massive hit.

Go look up "shareholder derivative lawsuit" and see if you can figure out what would happen next.

A sole proprietor can spend his money any way he wants - he can give all his profits to the church of his choice, he can mail it off to maintain a russian mail-order bride business. It's his money.

But a publically-traded corporation has shareholders to answer to, and any major monetary or strategic action had better have either a profit or stock price motivation behind it, or the officers and the board of directors will have some explaining to do.

Now generally directors are given a lot of leeway, and shareholders can't sue over every single decision (because companies would never get anything done); but major snafus that show a serious screwup in judgement can really bring the walls down.

Corporations, in and of themselves, are, by law, amoral. A strong vision at the helm can avert this natural disaster by giving direction that *does* include the welfare of both its customers and the citizenry.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, July 24, 2004

>This shows how much Microsoft has poisoned its own well by scaring away developers from the Windows platform due to the threat of being torn down if you're successful. There isn't a single investor in the business anymore that will fund an ISV developing Windows software. All those potential Windows coders who could be making a living writing interesting Windows apps are instead doing something else in a boring job and coding Linux apps in their spare time. I can't think of a more perfect example of long-term corporate suicide than what we are seeing from Microsoft today.

Huh? You mean a guy writes a little utility (he started in May 2003), gives the utility away for free, and then MS comes along and purchase his software?

Contrast the above with Motorola:

    They wont purchase the palm platform for their phones, since some terrible software developers (or company) will get some royalties and make money (oh, gee that is so terrible!)

Contrast the above with IBM:

    They don’t want to pay for OS software, so they use Linux. (after all, you do need to save a few extra million a year (nothing to them) for big corporate bonuses to the head guys…right!)

I know of tons of small little software companies that used to get bought out by companies like Motorola or IBM. Thus, there was a time when these corporate companies did support small business. Sure, maybe these little companies only got a million or so, but today, companies like IBM or Motorola are obsessed with saving a million in royalty payments. I mean, why pay for software when you can use open source?

> I can't think of a more perfect example of long-term corporate suicide than what we are seeing from Microsoft today.

You mean instead of paying for this software, they should have hired their own developers, created the same thing, stole the idea,  and said the hell with this guy? (just like IBM and Motorola?...lets just open source it…why pay?).

Look, MS purchased a program, and DID NOT put some guy out of business. Further, that software was a FREE download. How on earth could you come with a BETER example of corporate responsibility in this case?

    MS did not come up with a competing product
    MS did not steal the idea, and make their own.
    MS paid this guy good money that he did on  his spare time, and NEVER got any money in the first place?

Tell, me, if you created a free software package and MS comes along and purchases it (gives YOU MONEY), are you not going to jump for joy?

I mean, sure if MS comes up with a cheap low cost web content system that puts Joel out of business (his city desk product), then you would have SOMEWHAT of a better example, but this sure as the hell is not one!

However, if MS comes along and purchases Citydesk from Joel, you tell me that is bad?

Hell, I though the whole idea in the software business WAS TO GET purchased by a larger company?

How can anyone with a functioning brain say this is a bad example of corporate behavior?

You sure as the heck would not get this behavior from IBM, or Sun.

Companies like IBM, Sun, Motorola have VERY quickly learned that you should NOT pay royalties to ANYONE for something like software!

I mean, why is it so evil to pay royalties on software to developers? At least MS wants to do this…can’t say the same for the other players…


Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Philo knows of course that there is a big difference between being immoral and amoral, but one or two of the other posters seem less clear.

There is, however, a lot that a company can do in the public interest that can be passed off as bettering the company's image and/or increasing its visibility.

With regard to IBM, it is at present spending a load of money on software development. The payback of course is that it is breaking the companies dependance on sole supplier.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, July 25, 2004

"...as far as Gates having mild Asperbergers that is certainly true .... You don't need a psych evaluation to determine when someone is autistic, nor when they are schitzophrenic. Some afflictions actually manifest physical symptoms." - Dave Bartleby

Ummm, actually, you do. You might be surprised to know that some afflictions actually manifest the same physical symptoms as other afflictions. As a result, the minimal clinical requirements for a diagnosis of Asperger's go beyond the physical manifestations.

And oh, by the way, it's "Asperger's", not "Asperbergers". Thanks for playing anyway.

Zahid
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Philo, I presume your response to my question would be simply that corporations are not recognized under law as moral agents, then?

Mongo
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Bill Gates was described as being very good at poker in a bio I read a while ago (Accidental Empires? Can't remember).

Being good at poker requires you to understand whats going on inside someone elses head.

Autism/Aspergers relates to NOT being able to understand whats going on inside someones head...

theWeasel
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Autism / Asperger is about understanding the emotional reactions, not the logical ones, and poker is played with logic...

GD
Sunday, July 25, 2004

"Poker is played with logic"

A... aha... ahahahahahaHAHAHAHA!

You don't play much poker do you?

.
Monday, July 26, 2004

>With regard to IBM, it is at present spending a load of money on software development

Yes, and MacDonald’s spends a load of money on hiring people to cook burgers for them. The problem is that some of us don’t want to work at MacDonald’s, or simply work for a company wage. Some of us actually want to own our work that we do.

So, I not saying it is wrong that some make the choice in the food business to work for McDonalds for a wage, (or work for IBM for a wage).

I want to own my work, and own a business. Not everyone in the software business wants to be a consulting, or service based company. Some of us actually want to build products.

So, sure IBM is service based, and does not really sell software (how can anyone be surprised that they like open source, since there is no property rights in that system)?

How can anyone be surprised that governments are adopting open source, where once again if most governments could eliminate private owner ship of land, business  (or anything), they would take it away?

However, companies like Microsoft do sell software, and I for one want to also be able start my own business, and I need property rights to do that.

Companies like IBM should be ashamed of what they are doing to our industry, especially when you consider that IBM is one of the largest benefactors of IP rights in our industry.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Monday, July 26, 2004

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