Microsoft’s Sidekick and project ‘Pink’ fiascos blamed on dogfooding and possible sabotage

“Additional insiders have stepped forward to shed more light into Microsoft’s troubled acquisition of Danger, its beleaguered Pink Project, and what has become one of the most high profile Information Technology disasters in recent memory,” Daniel Eran Dilger reports for AppleInsider.

“The sources point to longstanding management issues, a culture of “dogfooding” (to eradicate any vestiges of competitor’s technologies after an acquisition), and evidence that could suggest the failure was the result of a deliberate act of sabotage,” Dilger reports.

“AppleInsider previously broke the story that Microsoft’s Roz Ho launched an exploratory group to determine how the company could best reach the consumer smartphone market, identified Danger as a viable acquisition target, and then made a series of catastrophic mistakes that resulted in both the scuttling of any chance that Pink prototypes would ever appear, as well as allowing Danger’s existing datacenter to fail spectacularly, resulting in lost data across the board for T-Mobile’s Sidekick users,” Dilger reports.

Full article here.

31 Comments

  1. Ah, and “Azure” finally becomes clearer. Microsoft’s entire business model is threatened by the cloud, so their “plan” for cloud computing is simply to kill it through FUD. Hello Azure, cloudless sky.

  2. Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

    While the sabotage angle certainly has possibilities, there’s plenty of stupidity going on at Microsoft already, which could certainly be sufficient to explain what happened.

  3. “Danger” could be a prophetic name for this Microsoft owned service. Do you think that Microsoft will be putting warning labels on the rest of their products and services?

  4. These two paragraphs are a great review of MS.

    To the engineers familiar with Microsoft’s internal operations who spoke with us, that suggests two possible scenarios. First, that Microsoft decided to suddenly replace Danger’s existing infrastructure with its own, and simply failed to carry this out. Danger’s existing system to support Sidekick users was built using an Oracle Real Application Cluster, storing its data in a SAN (storage area network) so that the information would be available to a cluster of high availability servers. This approach is expressly designed to be resilient to hardware failure.

    Microsoft is well known for wanting to replace competitor’s technologies with its own. The company famously failed to do this after buying up HOTMail in 1996 and attempting to replace its Sun Solaris servers with PCs running NT; it similarly failed to smoothly transition WebTV from its original Sun-infrastructure to one based on Windows Server and WinCE clients in the late 90s. Microsoft also struggled to help Dell replace its WebObjects-based web store after Apple bought NeXT in 1997.

  5. This is an excellent analysis piece from AppleInsider and a stunning indictment of Microsoft’s internal business practices.

    Who would trust Microsoft enough to use now its Windows Azure platform now?

  6. FTA “Pink was in fact a Zune-phone,” in that “Pink was a third group tasked with taking Zune software and making it a phone.”

    And there’s the difference between MS and Apple. Apple designs a product as a whole thing/concept. MS takes something they have on the shelf and cobbles on another piece to ‘make it work’.

  7. Dogfooding – what a great term and one that could only come out of Microsoft.

    Let’s try to use it. If you assume that MS products are equivalent to dogfood, then when people use MS products they are “dogfooding.” Hence, when I use Excel on my Mac, I am dogfooding. Sounds about right.

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