[clug] Stories of Microsoft technical meltdown: T-Mobile Sidekick/Danger 'Hiphop', all data lost

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Tue Oct 13 00:44:24 MDT 2009

Alex Satrapa wrote on 13/10/09 5:20 PM:

> I can't believe that someone has turned "eating your own dogfood" into a
> pejorative.

My reading is that 'dog fooding' means something very different to
It is closer to NIH (Not Invented Here), and quite obsessive/aggressive
- and quite irrational.

To me it seems that Microsoft don't just 'eat their own dogfood', they
actively & aggressively remove any competitors software.

It's the technical equivalent/expression of their marketing stance:
  "kill/crush all opposition".

That's a rather different stance from the Samba team - who'd have to
refuse to run any Windows code/apps if they adopted the Microsoft "dog
food" stance. Sorta defeats the whole point of inter-operability.

It isn't accidental that outsiders have produced the most reliable &
compatible SMB implementation. (?proof?)

Quotes from 1st article:

"The sources point to long standing management issues, a culture of
"dogfooding" (to eradicate any vestiges of competitor's technologies
after an acquisition), ...

"To the engineers familiar with Microsoft's internal operations who
spoke with us, that suggests two possible scenarios.

"First, that Microsoft decided to suddenly replace Danger's existing
infrastructure with its own, and simply failed to carry this out.

"Microsoft is well known for wanting to replace competitor's
technologies with its own.
The company famously failed to do this after buying up HoTMaiL in 1996
and attempting to replace its Sun Solaris servers with PCs running NT;
 it similarly failed to smoothly transition WebTV from its original
Sun-infrastructure to one based on Windows Server and WinCE clients in
the late 90s.

"Microsoft also struggled to help Dell replace its WebObjects-based web
store after Apple bought NeXT in 1997.

"Striving to rid the company of foreign technology and "eat one's own
dog food" instead is so common that Microsoft's employees are said to
commonly use the word "dogfooding" as a verb to describe this.

Quote from 2nd article (pg 3):

"This won't happen for three reasons:
1) Microsoft's irrational hatred of Java,
2) Microsoft's irrational love of Windows in all of its horrible
flavors, and
3) all the Danger folks who loved the Sidekick platform have left or
likely will leave soon, and Microsoft has no in-house expertise in Java
or the Danger platform.

> As for the allegations of sabotage, I suggest it's unwise to attribute
> to malice what can be adequately explained through incompetence.  No
> backups, a botched up SAN upgrade - this is easily explained through
> incompetence.  Somewhere in Redmond, I expect a work experience kid is
> having an unexpected return to school ;)

Or a promotion into Marketing :-)


> I have to wonder what's going on in Microsoft land.  I hope most of the
> stories I've heard about the Sidekick data loss and the Pink project's
> fail-by-design, are simply fiction conjured up by anti-Microsoft zealots.

They really could be this dysfunctional.
It makes the politics of Open Source look positively benign...

you've seen the "Monkey Boy" video of Ballmer on stage, haven't you?
Would you trust him with your savings (by buying shares in MS)?

> Regards
> Alex 

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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