Thoughts on being a closet MS employee

I was always at odds with myself when I was working in the Mac group at Microsoft.  The team is a great, smart bunch of people who really love the Mac platform and really want to do right by the Mac and turn out cool software.  I knew we were doing good work but there is so much zealotry in the Mac community that it took me a long time to refer to Microsoft as “we”.  If you check out comments on Omar’s blog you can see first-hand some of the quasi-religious fervor that can follow any post which is construed as anti-Apple.

Well, it’s taken me a long time but I can finally say I’m proud to be a Microsoft employee.  Having worked at Microsoft for almost nine years now I’ve come to realize the public’s view of Microsoft as a big, evil company who’s sole purpose is to crush all opposition is both not the view of the majority of the public and also just not true.  The people with whom I’ve worked are, with few exceptions, driven to excel and truly passionate about producing great software for their customers.  We are a competitive lot, but while having another company (e.g. Google or Yahoo!) producing cool e-mail software may drive me to want to out-do them I no more want to destroy Yahoo! than I would want to injure an opponent when playing soccer (besides, if Yahoo was destroyed, I’d feel really bad for Hans, Rob and Randy… they’re great people).

Seeing as it’s past 2AM and I’m on the road, having trouble sleeping without my lovely wife around… I was thinking… Being a white, American male growing up in the ‘burbs (raised Christian to boot), working on Macintosh software at MS provided me with what is probably the closest experience I’ll ever have to true racism.  And I’m know it’s nothing compared to what blacks, gays, Muslims, handicapped etc. people may face. 

So, I suppose it’s no great triumph of human will against insurmountable odds… baby steps.