November 22, 2003

Microsoft Lies, Scoble Style

I did something I haven't done in a while. I read a few items on Robert Scoble's weblog. I used to read his stuff more often, but since he's become Microsoft's voice in the blog world, I've found it a bit hard to stomach most of the time. It's not Robert that bothers me, he's a great guy. It's the effect that Microsoft appears to have had on him. I think he's forgotten what it's like on the outside already.


Anyway, I couldn't help but to notice something he said that can't really go unchallenged. Err, I mean "uncorrected." He's clearly wrong. :-)

In this post he says:

On the plane last night I met a social worker who owned Microsoft stock. Lady is retired. 75 years old. What happens if I say something that gets us hit with a billion dollar fine? It comes out of her pocket. The $50 billion dollars in our investment accounts doesn't belong to Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer or me. It belongs to her. Think about that.


According to my sources, Bill Gates himself owns roughly 1.1 billion shares of Microsoft. And according to Microsoft's Investor Relations site:

As of October 31, 2003, there were 10,812,468,881 shares of Microsoft common stock outstanding.

Let's see, that's approximately 10% of the company that Mr. Bill owns.

Saying that the "$50 billion dollars in our investment accounts doesn't belong to Bill Gates" is wrong on several levels. Bill Gates actually "owns" $5 billion of that cash, doesn't he? Scoble is trying to imply that Bill is not an investor. Not only is he an investor in Microsoft, he is the single biggest individual investor in Microsoft.


On the plus side, he partially redeems himself by being honest about Microsoft and security.

One reason I don't like promising fixes, though, is cause we don't have much, if any, credibility left when discussing security. So, any promises would ring hollow.

No shit?

+1 for stating the obvious. A lot of folks higher up in Microsoft that probably wouldn't be so honest (you know, stating the obvious and all) in public.

Perhaps Bill also generates a reality distortion field, but one of a very different nature than Steve Jobs.

Don't even get me started on his notion of XP service pack #2 helping with Windows security in a big way. What about all the Win98 and Win2K users out there?

Longhorn might be delayed until they figure out how to fix the security problems it already has? Great. That means they've designed yet another OS with a poor security model. As if good security as a requirement is somehow so new that it came up after Longhorn was designed. How long have Microsoft's OSes been used by businesses in network environments again?

Posted by jzawodn at 06:11 PM

My Linkblog is Available

A few days ago I noted that I need a link blog. Since laziness is often the mother of invention, I've created one. From the outside it's little more than an RSS feed and a sidebar labeled "recent linkblog links" on my main blog homepage.

Subscribe here

Behind the scenes, it's a separate MovableType powered weblog that I've stripped down to just two simple templates. This allows me to post to it using my handy command-line tools. Someday I should write up how I put it together.

This should reduce the clutter on my main weblog, allowing me to focus there on writing about things I really care about without being distracted by propagating miscellaneous links.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:12 PM