Agile 2018

Agile 2018
Speaking at Agile 2018

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Passion of Microsoft

This was the moment Microsoft learned to change.
Technology is a weird thing.  It creates heated passions and religious devotion.  I am not immune to these passions.  This week I wanted to talk about Microsoft and what I see from the outside is it is becoming a more agile company.

When I first became a technology professional, in 1998.  Microsoft was divisively referred to as the “Evil Empire.”  Internet explorer has won the browser wars, Visual Basic 6 was about to debut, and my company was scooping up copies of Windows 98 like no tomorrow.  It was before the dot com crash and it was a great time to get into developing software.  It was also the start of Linux movement and a general sense of discontent in the developer community.

This discontent came from projects in the enterprise sector getting more bloated and companies like Microsoft not being responsive to developers who wanted to improve their skills.  I think the final straw came with the release of the Apple iPod device.  This music player took the technology world by storm and it made Apple and substantial amount of money.  When Microsoft decided to release its Zune music player an entire two years later, it was too little too late.  I loved my device but it never had the wide appeal of the iPod.

By 2012, the Zune was discontinued and Microsoft was going through numerous changes.  They were now losing the browser wars to Google Chrome.  The Android operating system threatened to shut Microsoft out of the mobile phone market.  Finally, as PC sales slumped people were openly asking if Microsoft would survive.  Notes of the company’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

In a little over three years, with a new CEO and its focus on agile practices the company looks like it is turning around.  The focus from sales and marketing to engineering is refreshing to me.  I am looking forward to the release of Windows 10 and hope that the company continues its efforts to build more loyalty to the people who help build their brand.  As someone who has been building with Microsoft for over fifteen years, I have no illusions about the company’s shortcomings but it is nice to see an organization fix itself.

I am starting to feel more passion for Microsoft and I am not afraid to say so.

Until next time.