The Allchin Tax Cut

The Allchin Tax Cut

Summary: Mike Arrington missed the Gillmor Gang taping today, even though he changed his travel arrangements to be there. I forgive him, because he's understandably starry-eyed by his lunch with Bill Gates at the Mix06 conference.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Mike Arrington missed the Gillmor Gang taping today, even though he changed his travel arrangements to be there. I forgive him, because he's understandably starry-eyed by his lunch with Bill Gates at the Mix06 conference. But I don't forgive Robert Scoble for not inviting me, or Waggener Edstrom either.

Let me be clear what I am saying here so Scoble can cut directly to the chase: I'm thrilled that Bill got a chance to sit with Mike, one of the sharpest tacks in the blox and someone who is rapidly growing both in stature and experience with being played by the old guard. And I will always treasure the opportunity Frank Shaw at Wagg Ed gave me several years ago to sit with Bill and drill down for almost an hour--the only difference being that it was off the record.

But I was effectively running InfoWorld at the time, and Mike is running the hottest tech website, one that has done much to eviscerate InfoWorld's current product review editorial direction. I certainly can see why Robert and Frank might prefer to go with Mike than put up with my Office is Dead schtick. Here's the problem: Mike tells me (and you) that his impression was that Bill was kinda bored, or looked that way. Note: None of this is about the personalities here; it's all about what's going on at Microsoft and what impact it's going to have Real Soon Now in our lives.

I'm going to peel back the onion a bit here because I think Robert needs a little reality check. A few weeks ago Jim Allchin was making the rounds in the first of these blogger briefings. Mike mentioned to me that he'd been invited to a San Francisco dinner and had passed on it due to a prior commitment. I called Robert up and basically said "Why the hell wasn't I invited?" Of course I knew why: I've been very aggressive about Jim Allchin's hammerlock on the Microsoft strategy, second only to Bill Gates in influence and clout, and have earned the enmity of Jim and lost the mainstream press clout with my "descension" into bloggerdom. Let's just say that Robert's attempt to correct the guest list was squashed by Wagg Ed.

Here's why that was not a smart play, Robert. When I go on and on about Office being dead, and the Allchin Tax--which is about how Allchin protected Windows at all cost by killing IE functionality that undermined Office revenue--and then Allchin retires while still ducking a real conversation with someone about its implications for the ascention of some of those technologies (AJAX, Live, advertising-based free, etc.) that he taxed, well.....

Same thing here: When Mike reports Bill was bored, or that Bill doesn't get the preoccupation with thin Office plays like Gmail, it's not me who loses the opportunity to resonate with the audience, it's Bill. The users are in charge, not Microsoft. Not Google. Not the carriers, although Kevin Martin may think so. We are, and we'll vote with our packets. It's a subscription model, not a prescription model. Scoble understands this, but in recent weeks he's been making the mistake of cutting off the access of Bill and Jim and Steve to our gestures of intent. The customers/users/us will flow in the direction of a relationship, because as the expression goes, who wants to pay retail?

Now, Robert, I know you a long time, and you may not think I'm doing you much of a favor here by washing this linen in the clear, but you reap what you sew when you ignore your instincts. Stop calling for the head of a reporter or an editor or both about the 60% code story. Are you so sure that's untrue? Or put it another way--are you so sure anyone except maybe Bill really knows how much code has to be rewritten, or thrown away, to meet a January deadline which most likely will also slip? If anything has become clearer over the last couple of days it is that Ray Ozzie has moved more precipitously than even I thought (Office dead, office dead, office dead) to rework Redmond around services.

Here's my bet on the 60%--it's the real Office Live code, the stuff that GOffice is stripmining, injected into Vista. It's the real Windows bundle--Office hook line and sinker--free with the OS. Hell, they could even jack up the price 50% and no one would really complain. But Kevin Johnson and CAO Yusuf Mehdi will most likely subsidize it with ad revenue. How do you beat Netscape? Free the browser. How do you beat Google? Free Office.

But insulate these guys from the vanguard of the new messengers--from the hard questions, but the good ones--and you get bored Bill and boned Mike. I don't care, I get paid more for being right, and Bill sure wouldn't have been bored with me, or any of the Gang as well. As Mike Vizard said on today's Gang recording, (my paraphrase) better Microsoft do it to themself before it's done to them. Sell it the Republican way: it's a tax cut--the Allchin Tax Cut.

Topic: Microsoft

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6 comments
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  • Nice Job

    Well written Steve. I totally agree with you on "the allchin tax", but really its unfair to blame this entirely on Jim. This is really part of the culture at microsoft and virtually all vp's, pum's, gm's, partners share this view. Everyone pushing a product must be prepared to discuss how the product contributes to the windows experience, leverages the desktop, etc. It will be interesting to see how Live plays out...

    See you around.

    -markl
    mark.lucovsky
  • Thin Office client--seriously???

    [i]When Mike reports Bill was bored, or that Bill doesn't get the preoccupation with thin Office plays like Gmail, it's not me who loses the opportunity to resonate with the audience, it's Bill.[/i]

    I don't really get it, either. I can't see these being taken seriously by any business, at least not until the model could be proven over several years. And where's the offline support, for instance?

    What's the big draw for it, anyhow--that it could be offered for free? Perhaps it could get some traction in the consumer space, but I don't think many people relish the thought of their shiny new Word replacement being littered with advertising. Word works well and is very powerful; why do we want to take a step back, and onto shaky ground at that? If, as the argument goes, most people need "only 10% of Word's functionality"--which is not only speculation, but also implies that those "most people" use the [i]same[/i] 10%--why don't they just use WordPad? It's free, there is no advertising, and it does roughly 10% of what Word does.

    [i]...60% code story. Are you so sure that's untrue?[/i]

    Honestly, have you even considered what that would involve? At many millions of lines of code in Windows, do you really think it's even remotely reasonable to believe any part of this story?

    The only explanation I can think of is that the 60% refers [i]only[/i] to the Media Center functionality, but even that seems very, very unlikely.
    blu_vg9
    • I'm kind of with you on this one, but...

      "When Mike reports Bill was bored, or that Bill doesn't get the preoccupation with thin Office plays like Gmail, it's not me who loses the opportunity to resonate with the audience, it's Bill."

      We are in total agreement here. Of course, if I had the kind of money Mr. Gates has to throw around, I might be bored, too.

      "I don't really get it, either. I can't see these being taken seriously by any business, at least not until the model could be proven over several years. And where's the offline support, for instance?"

      You seem a "business-conservative" sort in your outlook. There are more adventurous, smaller, leaner companies out there for whom this might be a good fit, but keep reading.

      "What's the big draw for it, anyhow--that it could be offered for free? Perhaps it could get some traction in the consumer space, but I don't think many people relish the thought of their shiny new Word replacement being littered with advertising. Word works well and is very powerful; why do we want to take a step back, and onto shaky ground at that? If, as the argument goes, most people need "only 10% of Word's functionality"--which is not only speculation, but also implies that those "most people" use the same 10%--why don't they just use WordPad? It's free, there is no advertising, and it does roughly 10% of what Word does."

      There are other concerns here, too. First thing that jumps to my mind is security. What's to say, if you're doing your business in this way, that you're the only one looking at your business?

      To my mind, the strides open-source office solutions like OpenOffice.org and KOffice are presently making represent the best eventual alternative, and KOffice is already serviceable for those 'ten-percenters' we're talking about.

      "...60% code story. Are you so sure that's untrue?

      Honestly, have you even considered what that would involve? At many millions of lines of code in Windows, do you really think it's even remotely reasonable to believe any part of this story?"

      Not me. This whole business seems like smoke and mirrors.

      "The only explanation I can think of is that the 60% refers only to the Media Center functionality, but even that seems very, very unlikely."

      Seems to me that would be the last thing Microsoft would want to reveal - their, um, intimate relationships with RIAA and MPAA might be thereby compromised.
      horusfalcon
  • Are you aware...

    I am not sure you are aware that gOFFICE.com is a separate entity from Google. Our product, gOFFICE.com is a web office suite and may be viewed at http://gOFFICE.com for those who are interested. Your comment, "Here's my bet on the 60%?it's the real Office Live code, the stuff that GOffice is stripmining,..." is in error. We are not using Office Live in our product. We do thank you for the mention of our office suite, but wish to clear up any confusion.

    Fara Otterbeck
    Silveroffice, INC.
    Fara_z
    • Um..

      Somehow I don't think he is talking about your product. I think he is talking about the product that Google is designing.

      And good luck on that trademark since there are a few other applications relating to word processing that use the term "goffice."
      Patrick Jones
  • Headline out of sync with blog entry

    The headline intrigued me. The Allchin tax cut? Hmmm. What's that? Then I read the blog...twice...and find part of one paragraph that sort of explains the Allchin tax cut. The rest seems to be whining about being on the outs with the Microsoft PR people. So sad. But why not actually blog about the topic in your headline? I'd like to hear more about the tax cut.

    More of my thoughts on this at http://notaprguy.wordpress.com/
    notaprguy