Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Thursday, July 04, 2002

One more thing.

For more than four years now I've been asking "why doesn't Outlook have a newsreader?"

Microsoft almost never answers this question on the record.

But, when you get their product managers off in a personal conversation over beers, they admit "it's cause our corporate clients don't want their employees to be off in newsgroups while they are at work."

Tons of things about Microsoft's software have been put there (or kept out) by big corporate clients of Microsoft's.

To understand Microsoft's behavior, you must look at the pressures being put on Microsoft's board of directors. It no longer is about building a cool computer for end users or geeks like it was back in the 1980s.

Some more musings on Microsoft's Monopoly.

I'm thinking back to the days leading up to Microsoft's Monopoly. I wanted Microsoft to have a monopoly. Why? Because then all my friends and family would have the same software that I did.

What did I want?


The computer software industry showed me that they were incapable of working together before to give me interoperability (if I used Word Perfect in the early days I couldn't open up a Microsoft Word document and if I could it didn't look right).

The Web gave me it, but not for everything. You can't do vector graphics with a Web browser like you can with Adobe Illustrator. You can't edit digital photos like you can with Adobe Photoshop. (Yeah, I wanted Adobe to get a monopoly as well so that I could work with a variety of graphic artists without having to load 50 software apps on my computer).

Today I work with more than 200 people around the world. Only two of them won't deal with Microsoft Word and Excel documents (no problem, I convert my Word and Excel docs to HTML for them and they're OK then).

I wanted this world. I'm to blame for Microsoft's monopoly.


Now that I'm working at a big company (NEC is one of the largest computer manufacturers on earth with more than 100,000 employees) I find I'm starting to behave like a big-company employee.

My brother is an IT guy who works for a variety of companies too.

What do big-company corporate IT departments want? Control.

Now, let's visit Bill Gates, er Microsoft's board of directors and stockholders. What do they want? Growth.

How does Gates and Co. grow? By giving IT departments products to buy (and upgrade).

That pressure is what drives all sorts of people to do all sorts of things.

Enron and WorldCom decided to break the rules to satisfy their stockholders.

What does Gates do? He goes to his biggest customers and asks "how can I get you to upgrade Windows and Office?"

What do you think your corporate IT department says to Microsoft when they come calling? I can just imagine it goes something like this:

1) "We want the ability to know what our employees are doing with our computers."
2) "We want to know who they sent email to (even if it's on a Hotmail site)."
3) "We want to know what files they send via Instant Messaging."
4) "We want to know what Web sites they both looked at and published to."
5) "We want to be able to search any employees' hard drive for any piece of information and get it fast."

Why do they want to do this? Because they are paying us to do work and they want to make sure they are getting what they paid us to do. Corporate managers hate it when employees send their corporate memos to

Not to mention outright corporate theft -- I know from personal experience that some people steal from their companies (I caught an employee stealing from the camera store I used to manage).

They know that some percentage of their employees do a lot of surfing of porn sites. Xerox fired several a few years back.

They know that some percentage of their employees are posting resumes on or Craigslist while at work.

They know that some percentage of their employees are committing crimes at work (hey, did you miss that there were two pilots recently caught for "drunk flying?")

Companies want the power to watch us at work. (Not to mention that government wants the ability to watch us at all times).

Most of Microsoft's money comes from companies who buy thousands of licenses of Windows and Office at one time.

Microsoft now exists wholly to serve its stockholders and board of directors (Bill Gates has been selling off his shares to other people, which means he has less and less control over where Microsoft is going).

I remember a Microsoft executive who told me at about 1993 that Microsoft's challenge is to grow the size of Lotus (Lotus was quite large back then) every year.

Think about that. How does Microsoft grow its size? Certainly not by listening to Robert Scoble.

It does it by visiting Boeing, GM, EDS, the U.S. Government, and various other big Fortune 1000 companies and organizations.

Now you know where the pressure for Palladium is coming.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 1:41:06 AM.