Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 21/06/2006Get the facts. Remember that? Microsoft's big campaign against Linux that stacked up various statistics to prove that spending lots of money will cost you less.

Wednesday 21/06/2006

Get the facts. Remember that? Microsoft's big campaign against Linux that stacked up various statistics to prove that spending lots of money will cost you less. No matter that many of the figures came from analysts who'd been paid by Microsoft: in the words of Groucho Marx, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?

Now the man behind the plan, Martin Taylor, has departed that employ. The manner of his passing is curious, to say the least: three months ago he moved to the marketing side of MSN, currently in something of a tizz over the launch of the various Live services. And then – bang! He was gone. His name was still on press releases and on interview schedules, but the man himself had vanished. He was tracked down at home by American journalists – nothing can escape the Yankee hack – but refused to comment.

You can, if you wish, track down various rumours concerning his departure: there are 'friends of Ballmer getting the chop' conspiracy theories, there are others concerning secret reorganisations, and there are others that with some specificity mention the sort of reason that can get you fired from any company no matter how friendly you are with the CEO. Mistakes can be made, even by successful executives.

I always tend towards the cock-up rather than the conspiracy theory of history. Given that none of the MS-friendly journalists who'll know what happened are flying the conspiracy stuff, and that the other ideas aren't publishable... in the words of Andrew Wiles, I think I'll finish there.

However, that's not going to stop me sharing this week's very worst pun, for whom we must thank Charles McLellan, reviews guru and possessor of the production editor's instinctive nose for pungent wordplay. Now that Gates is going and his role is being filled by Craig Mundie and Ray Ozzie, the company's subsequent change in direction may best be marked by a renaming of the flagship product formerly known as Longhorn, latterly as Vista, and born of an antique LAN.

It shall be known as Ozzie-Mundie OS. Look upon MS Works, ye mighty, and despair!

Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away...

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