Earlier this week, it was revealed that Microsoft would purchase LinkedIn for about 26 billion dollars and change. LinkedIn professed their joy (natch!) at the news, and stated that they will continue business as usual:
LinkedIn Chief Executive Jeff Weiner will continue at the helm of the company but will report to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, according to a joint statement. LinkedIn will keep its "distinct brand, culture and independence," the companies said.
Apparently the week has been an emotional one and I hope that things work out. Personally, (and keep in mind that all this is my, and mine alone, opinion) I think the whole exec team of LinkedIn will be chortling all the way to the proverbial bank whilst dusting off their exit plans.
My response was to immediately close/delete my LinkedIn account.
I absolutely do not want Microsoft having access to my personal data. Not in any of the ways predicted with, or without, Cortana. Let me entertain for you as to why...
Back in 1990, I was a fresh comsci-grad working at a Fortune-1 company in Houston, Texas. I was coding in C using Ingres as the database, from a Windows 3.1 platform. On said platform, a 286, I was also working on complimentary projects in Borland-C and Paradox.
I was having a horrible time working on the project because the box rebooted itself, via the Blue-Screen-Of-Death, continuously throughout the work day.
I complained to my boss and he just gave me what was to become one of his famous blank-looks and told me to come back and see him when I had a real problem.
Already, BSODs had become so routine, so common-place, that they weren't even worthy of even token outrage.
Hence began our slide into accepting mediocrity as a standard.
Subsequent complaints, I was given a plan - justify the expense of a 386 machine and he'll buy one.
So, thereafter, for a week, I timed the amount of time it took me to reboot and restore to where I was when Windows took the machine down. I counted the number of resets in a day. Then extrapolated those numbers into a weekly average of how much time I was waiting for the Windows box to reboot and restore.
I then factored in my salary into the time spent waiting and was able to return to my boss to inform him that a new PC would pay for itself, assuming 50% less BSODs and a 50% improvement in recovery time, in less than two months.
I got my PC.
Fast-forward several years. I'm in California working for a Unix company as an engineer. I was promoted to a manager position and proceeded to stun the management team when I turned-down a windows-based machine in favor of one running our proprietary OS: Unix.
How will you power-point, and word and excel?!?...asked the other managers.
I used FOSS software (yes, even back then) and it wasn't even two months later before other managers approached me individually...
Is it true you've not rebooted your box once?
How are you creating those spreadsheets?
Pretty soon, one manager converted. Then another. And another. Then the Director came on-board. Soon, our entire management team was running on Unix. Still, there existed the acceptance of the (in my mind) unacceptable penalties inherent in running Windows...
When a new manager was complaining about his Windows PC locking up, the team admin told him: "Oh, that's just Windows. Remember to reboot a few times a day and you'll be fine."
Simply put, back then, Windows was utterly shit software. However, as it was the first GUI for DOS and most peeps can't grok the command line, it rocketed in popularity despite it's lack of stability. So users quaffed the Microsoft Kool-Aid and accepted the incessant instability of their Windows PC while those of us on Unix quietly and consistently out-performed and out-produced. Amazing what you can accomplish when you're not spending hours every week waiting for Windows to un-screw itself...
Since then, we've been treated to an ON/OFF series of Windows releases that ranged, in quality, from abysmal to doesn't-suck-so-much-for-Windows. Windows7 was the closest thing in terms of a quality OS and even it had problems. (Again, my opinion.)
Microsoft was the company that consistently delivered smash hits like ME, Vista and Windows8, right?
I remember one release of Windows, I think it was Windows 95, you had to load TCP/IP as a shareware package simply because Microsoft didn't think TCP was going anywhere as a protocol. Hubris. Nor did they think that the Internet was going anywhere. (Remember how late-to-market IE was?)
I remember installing a Windows OS in 2001 on an HP laptop that ran out of disk space after attempting to install Office because of the bloat. Formatting the hard drive and installing Linux and all the open source alternatives and still having over half the hard drive unclaimed. Ditto for Mac.
And now, we have Windows10. The culmination of crappy software manifesting in spyware, bloatware, and nagware. How many IT managers out there blew gaskets when overnight Windows10 upgrades, that they weren't expecting and didn't request or want, suddenly appeared on user's machines?
Point is, if you look back far enough, there's not a lot going on with Microsoft that, I feel as a developer, they can be that proud of. Especially with Windows10.
They force their Windows10 garbage on unsuspecting users while crowing about it's free price tag. Free. Snort. As in Facebook is free.
Keep in mind the old saying: If it's free, you're not the customer, you're the product. I'm so afraid of what they have cooked-up for the post free-version, locking in millions of machines into their basement-level-quality hell and complete obfuscation of the framework.
So, yeah....I've never been impressed with Microsoft. Not even once. Not then and certainly not today. Microsoft has been completely unable to do anything that resembles serious, quality, work when compared to the Unix/Linux world.
Reasonably, how can I trust them with my personal information?
I can't. More importantly, I won't.
(Disclaimer: I have a Windows10 PC. I boot it every couple of months just to remember why I don't run Windows, before shutting it down again.)