Microsoft has changed a lot in the past 5 years. In fact, new employees, hired in the last 5 years, out-number all employees hired previously. Ray Ozzie, who I worked with at Groove Networks, has taken over for Bill Gates as Chief Software Architect for all of Microsoft.
Dan'l Lewin, who I work for now, leads Strategic and Emerging Business at Microsoft. Dan'l was one of the early employees at Apple, and a co-founder of Next with Steve Jobs. Dan'l joined Microsoft in 2001 and now heads the Silicon Valley campus with over 2,000 employees.
Microsoft is working hard to build partnerships with VCs, startups, and entrepreneurs by sharing information and helping them succeed. Microsoft is also making its Silicon Valley campus available to outside organizations for meetings and conferences.
Today the San Jose Mercury News ran a story about Microsoft's investment in Facebook, and Silicon Valley's changing perception of Microsoft as a positive force and partner. It is nice to see a good story about the positive things we do. Here is a snippet from the story;
The Facebook deal adds to the remarkable evolution of Microsoft's relationship with Silicon Valley. Reputations die hard, but Microsoft is now embraced as a participant in the valley's business culture as never before. Three years after it paid $1.6 billion to settle antitrust and patent litigation with Sun Microsystems, Microsoft is credited with developing closer relationships to other companies, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.
With about 2,000 employees and growing, Microsoft's campus in Mountain View is hardly a little satellite operation, and includes such key groups as Internet television and digital games.
Microsoft's involvement in the valley extends beyond business. The company and its employees have become a leading supporter of valley charities, as well as institutions such as the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.