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Clarification August 18, 2006

Posted by J.J. in Microsoft, Windows Live.
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Adam Kalsey, the creator of Zempt (one of the very first desktop blogging tools) writes in his weblog about some “curious” language in the Writer end-user license agreement:

by posting or otherwise providing your submission, you are granting to the public free permission to: use, copy, distribute, display, publish and modify your submission, each in connection with the service; (emphasis Adam’s)

I want to thank Adam for bringing this language to light because it certainly may have bothered other folks. First and foremost I want to emphasize that the license agreement does NOT have an impact on the ownership or copyright of content authored with Writer. This is not the intention, implication, or effect of the license. I want to state this as emphatically as possible so that no one need be worried about it.

The confusion may be arising as a result of our product using the global Windows Live license agreement which applies to all Live products and services. As such, it covers both standalone desktop products as well as services which may host end user authored content. This language applies to “materials” which are submitted and then re-published by an online service (as opposed to “materials” created using a standalone tool like Writer).

I apologize on behalf of Microsoft for not including language more unequivocally clear, and I will work the right people here to get this fixed!


Having a Blast August 11, 2006

Posted by J.J. in Microsoft, Tech Startups, Windows Live.

In the wake of Niall Kennedy’s announcement that he is leaving Microsoft, Don Dodge (no stranger to startups) writes about what a blast he is having working at Microsoft.

I will second Don’s motion that working at Microsoft is a blast. Some background – I joined Microsoft in February as part of the acquisition of Onfolio and also work within Windows Live. Prior to joining Microsoft I had worked exclusively in startup companies.

I have seen lots of very encouraging things in my short time at Microsoft:

  • I have never seen such a high concentration of bright and committed people in one place.
  • The folks we are working with in the Windows Live group are very savvy about empowering small teams to be agile and innovative. The group coming from Onfolio experienced no “culture-shock” – on the contrary, Microsoft supported us 100% in continuing to do the things that made us successful in the first place.
  • Microsoft enjoys nothing more than competing with capable rivals. What I see within Windows Live is a focus on doing all of the things required to compete successfully over the long term. The investments required to do this won’t yield results overnight – but Microsoft is a very patient company and once pointed in the right direction is the toughest competitor there is.

Microsoft of course isn’t a startup. No one who works here can just flat out do whatever they think is useful and cool. There is a corporate strategy and lots of interlocking parts. Resources need to be applied in a coordinated way. Some patience is certainly required to work through these broader constraints. The reward for this patience though is participating in the development of products that are used by hundreds of millions of people.

So my vote is that Microsoft (and Windows Live) is a terrific place to be right now. I’m having a blast and relish the thought of being on a team of extremely talented people poised to do great things.