Cringely on Microsoft

Cringely has nice things to say about Microsoft this time around. The gist of his argument is that Microsoft is a better company because it is lean and mean. I have no idea how lean and mean Microsoft is, but I buy it. I remember seeing a picture of the entire Windows dev. team, and it was a reasonably small team (around 15 people). I think that Microsoft is not the type of company that would waste money on layers upon layers of management. I always felt that in an IT project, if you can’t code a script or install a database, you have no business being around the table.

The IBMs, EDSes, Lockheed-Martins, Computer Science Corps, and Boeings of the IT world make their money based on head count, while Microsoft makes its money primarily from software licenses. If any of those other big companies were to win the NHS IT contract, they’d budget 30 to 40 percent of the total amount for management, which is to say for doing very little, if any, real work on the project. They would throw a couple thousand bodies at the project whether those bodies were really needed or not. Microsoft, on the other hand, will put a dozen key developers on the project with probably two managers above them. They’ll get the work done in less time and for less money because they don’t have to carry the baggage of that old business model.

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Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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