Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 13/10/2004It's time for our quarterly company get-together, when all the divisions of our mighty outfit tell each other how well they've been doing. This is scheduled for half past four, followed by a swift departure at half past five to the pub where the boss' card is behind the bar.

Wednesday 13/10/2004
It's time for our quarterly company get-together, when all the divisions of our mighty outfit tell each other how well they've been doing. This is scheduled for half past four, followed by a swift departure at half past five to the pub where the boss' card is behind the bar.

However, we suspect someone has been leaking company secrets. As we prepare to down keyboards and traipse out to the foyer, Stuart Okin -- Microsoft's UK security honcho -- chose that exact time to announce his resignation to his colleagues. But we know how to fight fire with fire. Here's the blow-by-blow account…

16:23 Okin sends resignation email to all at MS UK. It is short and to the point.

16:25 Existence and contents of email become known to ZDNet UK newsdesk.

16:26 'Scoop' Wearden phones MS PR. We suspect they are reading the selfsame email at roughly the time we call…. "Errr. We don't know if that's confirmable. We'll call back."

16:30 Crack team of ZDNet UK journos -- Scoop and new spod Dan 'Secure' Illet -- detach themselves from the Q3 event and get scribing.

16:35 MS PR phone back. There is a momentary shilly, which threatens to turn into a shally, but Scoop provides graphic proof of the goodness of our information.

16.37 Nick McGrath -- who will now be covering Okin's beat -- is on the phone, confirming the story and spinning it as fantastic news for everyone. We idly wonder how he'll fit security into his schedule, given he's already battling Linux and spending so much time on the phone to hacks.

17:00 Production supremo Laura Stobart is reluctantly dragged from PowerPoint talk of EBITDA, Q4 targets and inter-territorial inventory strategies to streamline the story through the publishing system.

17:15 Story goes live to the world. If only we had a quote from the horse's mouth, though.

17:20 Dan 'Secure' Illet gets hold of Okin on his mobile, and corners the deserter in his lair - er, car. A small spluttering later, the urbane Okin delivers some tidy quotes and the story not only has legs but it stands up. In fact, it flys.

You've got to love electronic publishing -- scarcely were the pixels dry on the Okin ave atque vade than the world knew of Microsoft's loss. It's also great fun to phone up PRs when you're breaking a story they don't know about: a pleasure we also had this week with Skype and -- oh -- Microsoft again.

We of course wish Okin all the best in his new job, and look forward eagerly to forwarding McGrath’s more interesting emails as and when we get them.