Microsoft 'Red Dog': A pink poodle in disguise?

Summary:I think the Wired December cover story on Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie captured well Ozzie's challenges in winning over the "old guard" inside Microsoft, while pushing ahead with his new agenda. But the part which most intrigued this Microsoft codename watcher was the bit about from where the codename "Red Dog" emerged.

Wired Magazine's December cover story on Microsoft Chief Sofware Architect Ray Ozzie is now online.

I thought it captured well Ozzie's challenges in winning over the "old guard" inside Microsoft, while pushing ahead with his new agenda. But the part which most intrigued this Microsoft codename watcher was the bit about from where the codename "Red Dog" emerged.

One of my readers postulated that "Red Dog," a k a the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system, got its name from either "a mine in remote Northwestern Alaska" or the Red Dog saloon, "a historic landmark in Juneau, the capitol."

Dave Cutler, one of the Red Dog architects, claim the origins of Red Dog were quite different. From Steven Levy's Wired story:

"Another indication of the rebel nature of the project comes from its codename. "The official story is that we are just like Red Dog beer, and I'm sticking with that," (Corporate VP of Cloud Infrastructure Amitabh) Srivastava says.

"But Cutler is more forthcoming: "We were visiting Hotmail," he says, "and there was a really seedy strip joint in San Jose called the Pink Poodle. I said, 'Maybe we ought to name this project the Pink Poodle.' Everybody said, 'Oh, God, we could never do that.' And then somebody said, 'Red Dog,' and we all said, 'What a great name.'"

The cover line on the Wired story is "Can Ray Ozzie fix the house that Bill built?" I don't feel Ozzie is trying to fix Microsoft as much as he's trying to change inside perceptions of what's important, as well as outside perceptions of the company. What's your take?

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Collaboration, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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