Feeds

Microsoft's Mountain man sees Jobsian past in .NET

Like NeXTSTEP. But 'open'

Top three mobile application threats

Nearly 10 years ago, Dan'l Lewin was given an almost unenviable role - to be Microsoft's ambassador in Silicon Valley, a place hostile towards his new employer.

But this former senior Apple executive asked for it.

Lewin was named vice-president of .NET development in January 2001, with the job of bringing start-ups and partners onto Microsoft's then new .NET platform. He was to work out of Microsoft's Mountain View, California campus - a small outpost operating 800 miles away from the Redmond mother ship.

Silicon Valley was hostile ground for Microsoft. The center of the US tech business was then, and remains today, home of some of Microsoft's most staunch rivals - Apple, Amazon, Borland, Google, Oracle, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Salesforce.com, and Yahoo!.

And as for startups, the culture of the Valley was to team up with, or get bought, by one of the giants.

Dan'l Lewin

Lewin: Apple man turned .NET believer

It didn't help Microsoft that it had excluded itself from the political and social scene by basing itself in the far Pacific Northwest of Washington state.

That has hurt when it came to forging partnerships in a Valley where relationships come out of day-to-day networking and sometimes look more like casual hook-ups than deep technology deals - as in the case, over the years, of Google and Sun or Google and Salesforce.com.

When Lewin joined in 2001, though, the atmosphere was particularly poisonous. Microsoft had just been prosecuted by the US government for crushing the Valley's rising browser star, Netscape. The case had been helped along during US Congressional hearings by the buddy CEOs of Sun and Netscape telling politicians and millions of TV viewers that Microsoft was a threat to free society because it was a monopolist.

Meanwhile, in 2000, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison pitched in to the fight by hiring a team of private investigators to rifle the bins of two Washington DC lobby groups that had warned the public and politicians of the impact a ruling against Microsoft in the antitrust case could have on business. Ellison wanted proof the lobbyists had misrepresented themselves as independents when they'd been sponsored by Microsoft.

"We weren't spying. We were trying to expose what Microsoft was doing," Ellison told reporters at the time.

Yes, it was ironic - that not only was Lewin given the task of working with the very companies attacking Microsoft and of trying to persuade start-ups to look outside the Valley, but that Apple's former director of education marketing and sales who'd also joined Steve Jobs' as vice president of sales and marketing at NeXT should actually approach Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer for a job.

What gave?

With his 10-year anniversary on the horizon, Lewin has told The Reg the thing that promoted him to write a speculative email to Ballmer was a speech by Microsoft's then-new CEO on something called .NET. This was Microsoft's brand-new application framework that used and consumed the then equally new open-specifications and standards XML and SOAP and talked web services.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.