Simon Phipps writes, "I was surprised at that talk by how hostile the reaction I got from the other speakers was. Jeff Prosise later explained that any mention of open source is felt by the Microsoft community to be a form of attack on them, so even though I had been speaking pretty abstractly about the idea it was taken badly."
Here's another excerpt from this entry in Simon's weblog:
During the afternoon, Neil came over to me and said that some of the other speakers (no names) had been incensed that I covered Java in my talk and said they had asked that I not participate in the evening Q & A. We reached an accommodation. End of history.
Now, what's interesting here is the dimension it illuminates for me of the outlook of Microsoft insiders. This is the first time I have ever had other speakers approach the event organiser and ask for me to be removed from the agenda, and naturally my first reaction was to feel hurt, shamed and insulted (in roughly that order). I have gone out of my way, being aware this is billed as '.Net Nirvana', to be non-partisan and inclusive and to avoid at all costs criticising either .Net or Microsoft -- only one slide out of everything I have presented has even attempted a comparison.
But the more I think about it, the more it resonates with what I have read in books like 'Hard Drive' about Microsoft's ethos being one of 'Win at all costs, and they are all out to get us'. It seems the automatic assumption of some of the other speakers was that I was in some way 'out to get' Microsoft, that my agenda was attack, so despite that being absent from my intent it was read in as a sub-text to what I said. Considering that the people involved represent the attitudes of the largest, most aggressive company in my industry, immune from almost every attack and even able to shrug off conviction under the Sherman Act like a speeding ticket from a small-town cop, they showed a vulnerablity and insecurity which speaks volumes of the way Microsoft likes its people to feel and act. I stand educated.
Simon's comments are interesting but, in all honesty, without knowing; a) what he was billed to say, b) what he actually said, c) why he wasn't asked back (the gints gven are somewhat vague), and finally d) hearing comments from others present (co-presenters and audience), then, with the best will in the world, it is impossible to give any meaningful comment on his comments.