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

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.

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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 has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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12 comments
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  • Nice to see David Cutler in the limelight again...

    Nice to see David Cutler in the limelight again. What had he been doing these years?
    Roque Mocan
    • Red Dog the last few, 64-bit support

      From Wikipedia:

      Cutler left Digital for Microsoft in October 1988 and led the development of Windows NT. Later, he worked on targeting Windows NT to Digital's 64-bit Alpha architecture (itself based on the Prism design), then on Windows 2000. After the demise of Windows on Alpha (and DEC), Cutler was instrumental in porting Windows to AMD's new 64-bit AMD64 architecture. He was officially involved with the Windows XP Pro 64-bit and Windows Server 2003 SP1 64-bit releases, as well as Windows Vista. He moved to working on Microsoft's Live Platform in August 2006.
      PB_z
  • Great story about great company...

    This is one of those great stories that people will tell years from now after Project Azure destroys Google, Amazon and Salesforce.com. Another great insight into the mind and thinking of the SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM.
    Mike Cox
  • Red means danger and dogs bite people.

    That's probably more like it.
    fr0thy2
    • Re: Red means danger and dogs bite people.

      Obviously you are safe.
      bcarpent1228@...
      • Yup ;-)

        Very.
        fr0thy2
    • another perspective

      Red is the color of attraction. Dogs are loyal to their owner.
      justwait
  • RE: Microsoft 'Red Dog': A pink poodle in disguise?

    looks like we had the same take on it MJ - less about fixing, more about changing.
    stevecla
  • Pink Poodle!

    I've been there - When I was going to school in San Jose, the Pink Poodle was where we all went now and then to unwind. I recall it was a BYOB joint. A quote from a bachelor party there is: "Hey Mike! They're clip-ons!"

    Memories.

    The Pink Poodle doesn't hold a candle to Mons Venus in Tampa though!

    -Mike
    SpikeyMike
  • red sneakers...

    "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.'" Cutler also had the idea of outfitting team members with shiny red Nike sneakers.
    jznoy-dallas
  • RE: Microsoft 'Red Dog': A pink poodle in disguise?

    I think that MS did need fixing in some areas...mainly how they were perceived by the public and partners...and I think Ray has done a pretty fine job so far.

    http://richfrombechtle.wordpress.com/2008/11/25/can-ray-ozzie-save-the-house-that-bill-built/
    richfrombechtle
  • RE: Microsoft 'Red Dog': A pink poodle in disguise?

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