Normally, I’d link to this, but this is such a perfect reminder that the enthsiasm so many feel for their Macs is not misplaced, but in fact dead on the money. Thanks to Todd Bishop at the Seattle Post Intelligencer for this.
Microsoft executive Jim Allchin’s “I’d buy a Mac” e-mail, introduced as a plaintiff’s exhibit in the company’s Iowa antitrust trial, was previously excerpted but not available in complete form. However, the full message has now been posted among the plaintiff’s exhibits online. Here’s the PDF, and I’ll post the text below.
As a reminder, Allchin wrote in his Dec. 12 blog post that the message was written three years ago, that he was “being purposefully dramatic to drive home a point,” that the development process was subsequently overhauled, and that, as a result, Windows Vista is “far better than any other software available today.”
As a historical document, at least, the message provides insights into what was happening with Windows Vista’s development back when it was still known as Longhorn. It also reflects what the company will be trying to accomplish, and avoid, as it starts work on Windows Vista’s successor. To put the timing in context, this was a few months after Allchin and Bill Gates unveiled Longhorn at the 2003 Professional Developers Conference. Eight months after the message, Microsoft cut the WinFS storage system from the new operating system.
With that as backdrop, read on for the text:
From: Jim Allchin
Sent: Wednesday, January 07, 2004 8:38 AM
To: Bill Gates; Steve Ballmer
Subject: losing our way…
This is a rant. I’m sorry.
I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems [our] customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn’t translate onto great products.
I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft. If you run the equivalent of VPC on a MAC you get access to basically all Windows application software (although not the hardware). Apple did not lose their way. You must watch this new video below. I know this doesn’t show anything for businesses, but my point is about the philosophy that Apple uses. They think scenario. They think simple. They think fast. I know there is nothing hugely deep in this.
http://www.apple.com/ilife/video/ilife04_32C.html [Note: link no longer works]
I must tell you everything in my soul tells me that we should do what I called plan (b) yesterday We need a simple fast storage system. LH is a pig and I don’t see any solution to this problem. If we are to rise to the challenge of Linux and Apple, we need to start taking the lessons of “scenario, simple, fast” to heart.
Posted by Todd Bishop at January 10, 2007 1:56 p.m.”