Blogging from the evil empire

It's not easy being Microsoft sometimes especially when people refer to the company as the evil empire.  Even Google who despite not having much care for people's intellectual property rights, market themselves under the "don't do evil" slogan.  For the 70000 of us that work at Microsoft, who have to take this kind of abuse, we don't think of ourselves as evil.  Quite the opposite, in fact, rather we put our creative energies to work every day to create the software that will change evil empirethe world.  Maybe that's why 4500 of us choose to blog, often in our own time.  It's time we stopped letting our competitors tar us with whatever brush they feel like.  Blogging is a way that we are able to personally do that.

I'm on Reuters TV talking about this today, following on from the blogging4business event the other week.

Putting a face to a faceless organisation through blogs changes the way people perceive our company.  You might have all kinds of media-incited perceptions of our brand but when you meet us, you find we are actually quite nice people.

There are some very dedicated bloggers at Microsoft and we have incredible freedom to write as we see fit.  There are no set in stone policies we must comply with - just sensible advice on how to be a better blogger.  All of us marshall all manner of confidential information all day and the company trusts bluemonsterus to apply the same common sense to our blogs as we do in any other communication.  It also tolerates us being critical of the company from time to time because it helps us improve.

I am really enjoying the evolution of the bluemonster story and the constant reminder and good example Steve Clayton (left) is to me on how to blog properly.  It's about conversation, it's about dialogue, it's about us telling our story.  Listen to Steve tell the story on youtube.

Comments (7)

  1. Gideon says:

    I don’t know many people that really call you that, but the attitude is certainly prevalent (especially in Mac and Linux camps.)  But, at least my take on it is this.

    I don’t fault you guys, as individuals, for working there.  I don’t think MS just produces raw evil out of some sort of abyssal chamber, either.  Office 2007 is by far the best office suite I’ve ever used, and I do use all macs with parallels and bootcamp installed these days entirely for that reason.  

    I think, in general, it has more to do with Windows than MS in general.  I love office (OneNote is the most ingenious piece of software I’ve ever used.)  I love my Windows Mobile phone.  

    And I like internet explorer 7 okay, though it being bound up in all of MS’s activation/DRM/etc nonsense is a bit insane.

    But let me give you my biggest issue with Microsoft.

    I’ve about.. oh… 6-7 real, legitimate, windows XP and vista licenses.  And everytime I install one on either a mac or a windows pc (and mind you, thats no more than two computers at any time.)  I have to call in and try to explain to someone who has no idea what I’m talking about, that I’m not stealing your software.

    I have to call in and defend myself.  What kind of nonsense is that?  I think it is perfectly fine to protect your software to some extent, but making me go through that?  The guy who does buy all your software?  Or even when I just do some overhalls on my system (when I did have standard desktops?)

    I don’t think you guys are evil.  I think Microsoft has done some amazing things, and honestly – up until a few years ago was pretty much the only honest contender as a OS, but your size hurts you, and the company having a strangle hold on most of us whether we like it or not is going to breed resentment.

    Best of luck on your shows today.  As long as you guys keep doing work like Office 2007, I’ll keep buying.  But I’ll tell you…  Vista seemed better in beta than it does now.  I have two copies, and I’m not using either one these days and nor do I plan to anytime soon after I tried it out for a month.

  2. Stuart Lunn says:


    The way to hit back is keep doing what you and Microsoft are doing so admirably: Develop software that has changed the world; innovate, change and challenge.

    Bill Gates is one of the most outstanding indivuduals on this planet and Microsoft in  my book are a great company

    Whatever you do just keep this Blog and ignore the noise around you

  3. Amit Agarwal says:

    Landed here via Reuters. I am glad I did.

  4. Justin says:

    i always knew you had the face for radio 😉

    I jest of course – great interview and as you know i second completely your sentiments. Keep on telling the story.


  5. J Trewel says:

    Always cute to see criminals upset at being called criminals.

    Just what does an empire expect when it’s built on imitation, theft, illegal business practices, and shoddy products?

  6. dstrange says:

    you see that’s exactly the kind of comment I’m talking about.  Vacuous sarcasm without any recent examples to give it any credibility.  I am not a criminal.  Our DOJ phase is in the past and it’s time to move on.  Imitation?  what about the thousands of patents we registered this year?  Look at the ribbon in Office?  whereas look at the way our competitors copy us – Openoffice, even google docs.  Theft? huh?!  shoddy products you say – yet nearly every business on the planet runs business critical systems on our technology. There are about 500 million people who use my product.  How many companies can say that?  I don’t deny that my company has made mistakes but don’t confuse us with the company we were 5 years ago.  

  7. stevecla01 says:

    Rock on Darren…slowly but surely we’ll turn this ship (and it’s image) around. with you all the way

    as for J Trewel, we await your response with baited breath. seriously.


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