Editor 29-Oct-03 - rev 31-Oct-03
Microsoft Buys Macintosh G5s - fires employee who tells

Microsoft purchased a truck load of Apple Macintosh Dual 2.0 GHz G5 computers. A contract employee was immediately fired for revealing this.


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On his way into work, Michael Hanscom noticed three palets of Apple Macintosh Dual 2.0 GHz G5 computers being unloaded on Microsoft's receiving dock and snapped a picture. He later posted this picture and note on his personal Blog (WebLog). No Microsoft time, equipment or resources were used in posting this picture.

He said nothing derogatory about Microsoft in posting the picture, nor did he even speculate how they would be used. Nontheless, he was immediately fired. Apparently Microsoft spends a lot of time and resources tracking the private activities of people who work for them.

That Microsoft uses Macs is certainly no secret. They publish the dominant office productivity suite for Macintosh, Microsoft Office, and strong armed Apple into making Microsoft Internet Explorer the standard Web browser for Apple. Obviously they have to have a slew of Macs to develop this stuff on.

Microsoft's stated reason for the firing was not the picture itself, but the fact that he mentioned the receiving dock was near the print shop, and that was a security violation. Perhaps, but the firing was still excessive. They could have simply asked for the post to be taken down or changed and that would have been done.

Zillions of people post blogs, a sort of on-line diary, but very few actually read them, so the "damage" from this posting was virtually non-existant - up to the point Microsoft fired Michael. Now it's prominently splashed across the entire Internet and seen by tens of thousands.

An interesting point is that Microsoft has been strongly encouraging its employees and people working with its products to post blogs (A1, A2). What a convenient way to police their thoughts!

This AAx site is replete with evidence that Microsoft uses legal, questionable and clearly illegal means to limit your freedom and your choices so it's no surprise they tightly control those who work for them. This is deeply engrained in Microsoft culture - uniformity of thought, appearance and action.

I once took a bookkeeper unfamiliar with the technology industry to a vendor show and dinner. For dinner we were seated at a table with several Microsoft employees. Afterwords she remarked to me, "Those Microsoft people were scary - they were like Scientologists".

If you want to learn more about what Microsoft has in mind for you, its business customer, read Microsoft's "Road Ahead" on this site. About a quarter of a million people have.

Yes, alternatives are more trouble in the short term, Microsoft has seen to that, but they will save you a lot of trouble and expense in the long run.

Michael Hanscom's resume.
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- Andrew Grygus

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