Adjusting to life at Microsoft

Adjusting to life at Microsoft

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About 1.75 years ago Microsoft acquired Connectix's virtual machine technology.  At that stage I had been working at Connectix for a year and a half on the Virtual PC for Windows product line.  As a long time IT enthusiast - it seemed kind of strange to be working for Microsoft - as I have personally come from a background which viewed Microsoft as the 'Evil Empire'.

This was an interesting adjustment period for me on two fronts:

  1. On one hand - I was amazed to find that Microsoft is a much cooler place to work than I would ever have guessed.  There are a lot of amazingly smart people here who are very passionate about what they do.  I was also amazed to find out that there were a number of areas (like security) where Microsoft was 10 times more determined than any other software company I had worked at before.  These days I have a lot of respect for Microsoft.
  2. While we had largely the same development team working on the same products - with the same beliefs and attitudes - there was a whole subsection of our user base that immediately decided that we were evil and out to screw them over.



    I am still not sure how I should react to that.  The real answer is that this is one of those areas in life where we have to work to win peoples trust in your product - but still - it was weird when I realized that all that had really changed was the company logo - and all of a sudden everything was different.

Which leaves me with one nagging problem - for a long while now I have been able to claim 'outsider' status when talking to anti-Microsoft people ('Hey - I have only been here a year - and I am here because of the acquisition, yada yada yada').

But as I am coming up on the 2 year mark at Microsoft - I am thinking that this logic will not fly for much longer.  I will just have to give in and admit that I have gone to the dark side - and you will all have to hate me for it :-)


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  • Consider yourself hated then, if that makes you feel better :)

    I'm lying, by the way :P
  • Could you tell us more about the transition? What changed? What is better? What is worse? Are you happy that MS bought Connectix?
  • Life is like that.
    By the way, Microsoft would not have what it is without existence of such critics
  • On the flip side, you also gained some fans (myself included) who previously only thought of VPC as that 'cute little PC emulator for the Mac, now where is my copy of VMWare?'

    Since I started using the Microsoft-branded versions VPC and Virtual Server, both of which I find to be impressive, I've shelved VMWare. You guys have produced some great products, and, as Bono would say, "don't let the bastards get you down."
  • Geoff - Thanks! :-)

    Snorrk - Sure thing - I will try to post more information from time to time.

    ToddM - I agree, but I find this equally strange (from my perspective) :-)

  • Didn't you feel slightly Evil-Empirish pulling explicit Linux support from Virtual PC? It still works fine under the "Other" setting, but it was nice when you could name your virtual machine "rh 7.2" and have the OS set to Red Hat Linux automatically. It feels a little less nice to have it set to "Other".
  • Snorrk - I'd have liked to seen Connectix stick around for a couple more years, gone public, and sold off my stock for lots of $$$, but alas, that didn't happen. I do think the MS purchase was good, it opened a lot more $$ for development and definitely increased VPC's market share, but it would have been cool to see a long term Connectix-VM Ware competition...who knows how VPC would have turned out then, not to mention VM Ware's changes.

    ToddM - the only major changes from the last version of CNTX VPC to MS VPC was GUI support for multiple NICs and the logo. Same with VS. The core technology is nearly identical in both products. Don't forget that VPC-Mac was around BEFORE VMWare too ;-)

    Paul- Connectix only provided installation support for Linux, beyond that you were on your own. And contrary to popular belief, there never were VPC Additions for Linux offered by Connectix.

    Virtual PC Guy - did you get any snow yet, or you still just having random sun-breaks up in rainy old Redmond?
  • Hey Steve,

    No snow yet - but we did go below freezing the night before last. At this rate I am starting to think that San Mateo was relatively warm :-)

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