Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Tim Bray on the HotMail Hole

Author:Dave Winer
Posted:8/31/1999; 11:35:58 AM
Topic:Tim Bray on the HotMail Hole
Msg #:10331 (In response to 10328)
Prev/Next:10330 / 10332

Colin, a better explanation comes from the recent Cringely article:

"All we got was money," said a Hotmail founder. "There was no recognition, no fun. Microsoft got more from the deal than we did. They knew nothing about the Internet. MSN was a failure. We had 10 million users, yet we got no respect at all from Redmond. Bill Gates specifically said, 'Don't screw-up Hotmail," yet that's what they did." Here's what any company that wants to be bought by Microsoft should know about the boys and girls from Redmond. First, it is an adversarial culture that makes progress only through constant infighting and bickering. "During the technical due diligence, two Microsoft people got in an argument that we thought might actually come to blows," said a Hotmail founder. "They were fighting with each other in front of us. It was our first hint of what was to come. Politeness is ignored and bitches are rewarded. Everything is about power."

I know about this, I was part of an acquired company, twelve years ago. We lost our technical edge and drifted. People started leaving. Everything changes when you're acquired. It's not often a very good thing for software, and websites are really just pieces of software. This is not a new lesson, it's an old old one!

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