One Microsoft Way

It’s not just an address. It is the most succinct statement of Microsoft philosophy ever written.

Microsoft always plays the “Me, too!” card. No major vendor can announce a new technology without Microsoft counter-announcing “we’re on it.” “We have a better solution – more flexible, more reliable, and not just a fluke – it’s all part of our grand umbrella strategy of Windows at Work/WOSA/DNA/COM+ (fill in your favorite acronym)” Windows, after all, was a response to Xerox’ success with the GEM graphical user interface and the success of the Macintosh platform. The tabbed interface and nearly all other inventions were not created in the labs in Microsoft, but appropriated from other vendors.

Embrace. Enhance. Extend. Extinguish.

Embrace

is good. Supporting standards are a way of ensuring that our products play together well.

Enhance and Extend

can be good, sometimes. Introducing new innovations into an existing standard is necessary to keep the industry from stagnating. Change is inevitable and rapid on our industry, and pushing new technologies forward is a necessary part of the process. But pushing proprietary extensions, while competitively driven, splinters emerging technologies into different camps. An apochrophal story has made the rounds for years that a certain operating system was built with the motto, “It doesn’t ship until Lotus breaks.” Surely that is an exaggeration, but it does identify an attitude I suspect is all too common.

Extinguish

is usually bad. The race goes to the swift. Darwin tells us the fittest survive. But we have come to recognize, at least in some fields of endeavor, that endangers and threatened species are necessary for the biodiversity needed for all life to survive

I made the mistake years ago of choosing a computer platform based on the technological superiority of the machine, rather than on the popularity. After investing years of effort in learning and teaching and writing about the machine, it came to the end of its all too short lifetime. My investment was not recovered. My business was forced to close. I had to get a real job.

Upgrades for the sake of upgrades. It’s not a new f [Note: the remainder of this essay appears to have been lost. I’m trying to find a backup.]

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