Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer was a guest speaker at a conference this morning for the members of the Massachusetts Software Council, a technology trade association in that state. In attendance there was Dan Bricklin (co-creator of VisiCalc, the first PC spreadsheet) who, in his blog, summarizes what Ballmer had to say to the audience of mainly software vendors weighing in the opportunities of partnering with Microsoft. Bricklin paints a positive and genuine picture of Ballmer--complete with photos of the CEO schmoozing, and there's several interesting details that he shares:
A little thing that they did that was probably the biggest innovation in their software engineering process was adding to Windows the automatic error reporting that can happen after a program crashes (which he knew we were unfortunately familiar with). They now have real data to help them.
Who ever knew those error pop-ups were such an innovation?
He gave numbers about security from Internet Security Systems and Forrester comparing Windows to RedHat, Debian, etc. For IP risk, he talked a lot about customer indemnification, for patent claims and copyright claims. They will pay the legal fees and damages. Eolas could be $550 million if they lose, but they'll pay (not that they plan to lose). He compared to Novell, HP, RedHat, and IBM. He appealed to us as developers to see what is best for us.
Looks like Microsoft won't hesitate to continue to throw money at problems.