How did I get here? What led me to walk away from the hot team at Microsoft – Windows Azure, and even more interesting, leave Microsoft after 9+ years.
First, its important to note that most of the 9 years I spent at Microsoft were incredibly rewarding. I worked with some really smart and good people. And Microsoft is indeed a great company to work for.
So why leave? Well, first I need to get something off my chest – let me start with Innovation and R&D. Every year for the last 9 years, Microsoft executives remind all the employees, customers, partners, the world that they spend between $6 – 8 billion in R&D annually! Really? Now, I am not implying that there is a lack of innovation going on in the mildew forest (redmond); there are some really cool things like XBOX Live, Surface, .Net, Windows Azure, Live Mesh. But lets face it, Windows XP to Vista to Windows 7 (a Vista SP) over 9 years was not very innovative – especially now that I am using OS X! Windows Mobile Phone strategy? Search? Over $60 billion in R&D over 9 years – I can probably come up with a list 10 startups that had less then $300 million in funding in total that are more relevant today and innovative. …OK. I feel better now.
I mentioned being on the hot Windows Azure team, as well as listing it as innovative, and I still think there is some really cool technology there. Some of the best innovation in the last 9 years at Microsoft. Public PaaS Cloud is certainly innovative, interesting and very relevant to future deployment scenarios (not all, but some). But I started to question the overall “cloud” strategy and approach. I really think Azure technology should have first been introduced as a private cloud (on – premise) platform, enabling enterprises to build on their virtualization footing, and start with customized private PaaS. Then compliment that with a Public PaaS strategy that included ISPs and Partners and enable hybrid cloud scenarios. Instead, its sort of a huge leap for most enterprises to think about what workloads to build onto this primarily new and proprietary platform running in Microsoft Data Centers, and have a completely different perspective and approach to cloud patterns on-premise. Sorry, its not Hyper-V and Windows Server.
Then there is Ray Ozzie’s departure (not to mention all the other executives leaving to this day). Ozzie was the new Bill Gates at Microsoft. The “architect” of the new Microsoft and leading the transformation and vision for the cloud – the driving force and vision behind Azure. All of a sudden, while on the Azure team and coming to, Ozzie resigns! And then Ozzie writes his “Dawn of a New Day” . As I wrote in my blog post regarding the memo – Its a very interesting read and as one of my colleagues tweeted; “Shut the door, turn off your phone and read Ray Ozzie’s Dawn of a New Day” .
Anyway – my Azure bubble was popped. I was no longer a believer, nor passionate about the direction. There were other things that I wont go into, and there were also things that made me want to stick around – mostly some good people. I will absolutely treasure some of the work and people I was fortunate to work with – some of who are still at Microsoft. Keep up the good work!!!
I have found a renewed love for something from Microsoft that runs on the Mac – MacOffice 2011. Now, we just need OneNote on the Mac.
I am finding an incredibly rich, innovative, and very relevant approach and strategy at my new gig! With some incredibly compelling dialogue with enterprises regarding cloud. More on that on that later….