Thanks to all the fine people at Microsoft. It was an interesting ride. Four years, 11 months, and 20 days, and I enjoyed every one of them. Well, except for the last few days, that was not fun at all. I hope I played a small part in making Microsoft more approachable, friendly to startups, and easier to work with. Microsoft is a different company, a better company, than when I joined 5 years ago. There are more new people who joined Microsoft in the last 5 years than all the previous employees combined. However, laying off 5,000 people when you have $37B in cash and huge profits is not cool. But hey, thanks for pushing me on to the Next Big Thing.
Thanks Microsoft, I’m going to Google! Vic Gundotra at Google was the first one to contact me with an opportunity…90 minutes after the news of the layoff hit. That fast decisive action was refreshing, and such a contrast to the slow, secretive, bureaucracy at Microsoft. That speed and decisiveness also reflects different approaches to hiring great people, building great products and serving customers well. I have always admired Google. I am excited to now be part of the team. My job at Google will be helping developers (and startups) build great products and services using Google technology and platforms. Google is building world class products for companies of all sizes, but especially the enterprise market. I will be part of the team to make that happen.
Last week started a new personal journey for me. One without Microsoft. So, why not move forward without Microsoft technology, and try the new alternatives? Old habits die hard, but these were actually pretty easy to break.
I plan to write extensively and honestly about my experiences in making the transition from Microsoft to Google technologies. I expect there will be some challenges, some idiosyncracies, and areas for improvement. I also expect that Google's approach to building products will offer some distinct advantages now, and over time. The key is choosing the right tool for the right job. There is no one product that solves all problems for all use cases.
Thanks Microsoft Outlook, but I’m going to Gmail. I made the switch to Gmail last week and it has been awesome! Outlook has been an old familiar friend for years, but it was getting kind of tired. Gmail is new, fast, web based, and has all the features I need. I especially like the way it threads conversations making it easy to keep everything in context. And of course the search capabilities are world class. One other subtle thing…no spam. I never realized how much corporate spam invaded my Microsoft inbox. Endless emails about corporate meetings, events, promotions, and CC's on email threads I don't care about. Gmail has been liberating.
Thanks Microsoft Office Office 2007, but I’m going to Google Docs. Hey, isn’t this November of 2009? Why Word 2007? One of the nice things about Google Docs, and all web based products, is that they can be updated continuously with no interruption to you. New features and bug fixes happen automatically in the background so you always have the latest technology…not the 2007 version. Another great thing about Google Docs is the easy online collaboration, and always working with the most up to date version of a file. No more need to attach versions of docs, spreadsheets, or presentations to emails…and then search for another email with the latest version. I have been experimenting with Google Docs and have been able to do everything I did in Microsoft Office. I can’t think of a single feature missing from what I need every day. There may be some edge cases…but I haven’t bumped into any yet.
Thanks Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5, but I’m going to Google Android. OK, now that I am no longer with Microsoft, I can admit I had iPhone envy. My Windows Mobile “Smartphone” didn’t measure up. But, the problem was my whole family has phones on the Verizon Family Plan network. And, AT&T doesn’t have good coverage in my area. My good friend Rich Miner showed me his Google Android phone last week. It is beautiful, lots of great apps,…and it works on the Verizon network. Awesome! Can’t wait to get mine.
Thanks Microsoft Internet Explorer, but I’m moving to Google Chrome. Chrome starts faster, loads pages faster, and is easier to use. The web browser is where most of us spend the majority of our time. And, most new applications are web based. Google Chrome is making the Operating System irrelevant. In fact I tend to forget it is there…until I see that “blue circle of death”. With applications now running in the browser, the client OS becomes less and less important.
The transition from Microsoft to Google will be an interesting story for this blog. Making the switch to new products and technologies will be fun. I hope many of you will share your experiences too. It is an honor to be part of the Google team. The new chapter starts right now.
UPDATE: The reaction to this post has been a little surprising, both on the positive and negative side.
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