Microsoft exec praised Mac 'to change Vista process'

James Allchin was being 'purposefully dramatic' in an email praising Mac, he said

Outgoing Windows development chief James Allchin says he was being "purposefully dramatic" in a three-year-old e-mail to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer that surfaced late last week at an Iowa antitrust trial against Microsoft. In the e-mail, Allchin told his two colleagues that development on the Windows Vista operating system had gone astray and that he would buy a Macintosh from rival Apple Computer were he not a Microsoft employee.

In a posting at the Windows Vista blog early Tuesday, Allchin said the e-mail was a "rant encouraging a change to the way we were building Windows at the time. I made the comment for effect about buying a Mac if I was not working at Microsoft. Taken out of context, this comment could be confusing."

Allchin, whose e-mail quote was confirmed as genuine and direct after it was posted by open-source legal Web site, continued: "This email is nearly 3 years old, and I was being purposefully dramatic in order to drive home a point. The point being that we needed to change and change quickly. We did: We changed dramatically the development process that was being used and we reset the Windows Vista development project in mid-2004, essentially starting over."

Allchin, the co-president of Microsoft's platform and services division, is stepping down at the end of this year as Vista nears its Jan. 30 ship date to consumers. Allchin has said previously that delays in Windows Vista's arrival -- it is shipping five years after Windows XP, rather than Microsoft's aimed-for three year gap -- were due to extensive rewriting of code in order to make the OS more secure and bug-free from the get-go.

Allchin was also quoted by lawyers representing Iowa consumers in their opening arguments in the case of Comes v. Microsoft as saying Microsoft had "lost sight" of customers' needs. In his blog posting, Allchin said his comments were consistent with the "spirit of being self-critical" that "continues to flourish at Microsoft. Within Microsoft everyone considers it their duty to always put their convictions and our product quality ahead of everything else. That was the intent of my mail to Bill and Steve, and I consider it a great example of how this company can focus and do what's right for customers."

The ongoing legal fight is one of two remaining antitrust cases at the state level from the slew of cases brought by the U.S. Government and multiple states starting in the late 1990s. Microsoft has already settled one similar class-action lawsuit brought by the state of California in 2004 for US$1.1 billion.

An excerpt of the court transcript from last week's hearings -- which includes direct quotes from the proceedings and from lawyers reading various e-mails from Microsoft executives aloud -- shows how Allchin's e-mail was presented:

"Exhibit 7264. Almost three years ago, on January 7, 2004, Jim Allchin, the senior executive at Microsoft, sent an E-mail to Microsoft's top two executives, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and the subject was losing our way.

Mr. Allchin says, I'm not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers, both business and home, the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems our customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that does not translate into great products. He goes on to say, I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft."

Microsoft's lawyers are expected to begin giving their opening statements by Wednesday.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?