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Father of WebSphere Leaves IBM For Microsoft 143

jg21 writes ".NET Developer's Journal is reporting that Don Ferguson, the 'Father of WebSphere,' has left IBM to join Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie's office. Ozzie, whose efforts to rebuild Microsoft have been discussed previously on Slashdot, is gaining a man who while at Blue championed Web services, patterns, Web 2.0, and business-driven development — a potent combo for the future that Microsoft is trying to bring into being."
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Father of WebSphere Leaves IBM For Microsoft

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  • *shivers* (Score:5, Funny)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:19PM (#17623694) Homepage Journal
    ...the future that Microsoft is trying to bring into being.

    • Web services, patterns, Web 2.0, and business-driven development. . . .

      a potent combo for the present that Microsoft has resisted tooth and nail.

  • ".NET Developer's Journal is reporting that Don Ferguson, the 'Father of WebSphere,' has left IBM to join Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie's office. Ozzie, whose efforts to rebuild Microsoft have been discussed previously on Slashdot, is gaining a man who while at Blue championed Web services, patterns, Web 2.0, and business-driven development -- a potent combo for the future that Microsoft is trying to bring into being."

    Should Microsoft be allowed to hire expert talent in order to stay competitive?

    • Yes.
    • They need to do _something_ to avoid sinking in a sea of mediocrity.

    • IIRC that political movement hired away many of Borland's top developers [] attempt to eliminate Borland's C/C++ as a competitor. Prior to that, Borland was at the top of proprietary C/C++ compilers.

      So how much of the motivation behind this recent hire is just an attempt to hurt IBM ? Clearly the overall development of the IT sector would be better if he had stayed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xoyoyo ( 949672 )
      yes, because this guy is guaranteed to bring their enterprise software strategy to its knees. he's a technological obfuscator and goldbricker of the highest order. websphere is horrible horrible horrible, especially at any layer of its archirtecture where it actually has anything to do with the web, SOA is just a fancy consultant-fee-boosting acronym describing the kind of good practise the rest of us have been doing for years, except now the management consultants can sell us it back at twice the price.

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:26PM (#17623752) Homepage
    Folks at near-VP level get $1M a year in just stock grants. That's not your daddy's options, real stock is given to these folks. Sure it vests over 5 year period, but you get a ton of it every year. I think he'll be one of those rest-and-vest types. Which is perfectly fine by Microsoft if that's the price to pay to decapitate a competitor. There are exceptions to this rule, though, most notably Anders Hejlsberg. But back when he joined there weren't any $1M a year stock payouts, and to be fair, he's worth it.
  • A good thing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by acidrain ( 35064 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:27PM (#17623758)
    I for one am happy to see the smart people spread around evenly, not just going to google. Competition between smart people encourages innovation, and like it or not, given their market share, having a few smart people sucked into M$ from time to time will reduce global suffering due to technology. Wonder how it feels to have quitting your job will end up on slashdot!?! I don't know how many people *at my last job* noticed when I quit.
    • As admirable a cause as global suffering is, I'm sure there was quite a bit of $ in the move. Call him an environmentalist. Also, I've been reading about how IBM is starting to fade - no idea if it's true or not, but that's a bit of a flag right there. Pardon my ignorance if I'm misinformed.
      • by sjs132 ( 631745 )
        And I heard they were gonna EOL OS/2 also... ;)

        Of course that just took a while... :(
    • Wonder how it feels to have quitting your job will end up on slashdot!?

      I, for one, get tired of this bullshit. I don't give a crap how smart he is, he's not worth what they're going to be paying him. Can't be. The numbers for executive salaries just don't add up. He and the other 8-figure overlords who decided to hire him are all very good at using their smarts to play the politics game and--in their defense--no doubt countless hours of soul-sucking dedication to the man. Hey buddy, we'll pay you 2

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It is funny how people assume that Google employees are smart. I suppose it has to do with the type of (supposely hard) interviews they perform. Let me tell you, I did an internship in Google, and the people was like in any other place. There were smart people and there were incompetent people. In fact, one of the things that surprised me at Google was that people was just average, once you have taken off the layer of arrogance and condescendence. As you may know, Google is not interested in making technica
  • Not Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LouisJBouchard ( 316266 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:40PM (#17623886)
    I for one am not surprised by this action. I have heard for a while that morale at IBM is at an all time low and this is the result. I wonder how much other good talent has left IBM that we do not know about.
    • More importantly, how many by choice, and how many by "outsourcing"? Yep, IBM outsources, just like any other large company.
      • I would think a fair percentage from both. I have heard that in a recent morale survey, for the first time in IBM history, a majority of the people said they would leave IBM if they got a better deal elsewhere
    • Re:Not Surprised (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:53PM (#17624022)
      As an anonymous coward inside IBM, yes, I can clearly tell you that morale is falling fast. Even my 3rd line manager has confessed he has no idea what is going on at the top levels of IBM, and its showing in everything we do.

      It might get turned around - there are a lot of good smart people here (and I work with WebSphere everyday), but every year being asked for 20% more, more regulation compliance load, and seeing bread-and-butter type work all go off-shore... it gets very disheartening. I doubt I will be here by this time next year, by my choice.
      • Re:Not Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Heir Of The Mess ( 939658 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:43AM (#17624434)
        there are a lot of good smart people here (at IBM)

        I've noticed in recent years that there are a lot of smart people moving to Microsoft, and yet I can't help feeling that they seem to have a slight problem harnessing all that talent. I mean while Vista is a step in the right direction, it feels like it needs a little more work, and the new GUI API needs more stuff added to it. With all that talent they should be able to deliver something really astounding. With vista I was expecting a database to be part of the O/S, and have transactional operations so an install can be rolled back on failure by just simply not commiting the transaction. I was hoping that legacy apps would be sandboxed but wrapped so that they thought they were running with admin rights, instead there's this rights escalation dialog that pops up continuously.

        What happens in big companies that holds people back? Too much micro-management? Too many meetings? Too much design by committee? Too much political infighting? Too much empire building and idea protecting?

        What's happening at IBM? What could fix it?

        • Re:Not Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:48AM (#17624972)
          well, IBM's run by a sales weenie.... which is ok if thats really what you need, but it means that you put 100's of sales people on planes to make sales this quarter, instead of putting a few engineers on planes to make sure you have product ready next year. products slip, and next year you have to put 200 sales people on planes to keep customers happy.

          When I got to IBM I was kind of shocked by how free they were with funds (fridge full of soda), now typically you can't spend anything in 3rd and 4th quarter without a 4th or 5th line approval (for non-IBMers thats a boss of a boss of a boss of a boss) even if you were told you had the money in january. its basically wall street style quarter by quarter mismanagement caused by perenial overly optimistic growth estimates... a mania of spending in the begining of the year, followed by stifiling belt tightening in Q3 and Q4 when we discover that revenues didn't grow 20% this year (despite our samuel L jackson inspired "salesman on a plane" strategy) and we need to pare down expenses. you just learn to not try to do much in the last part of the year..

          echoing a different post there seems to be a disconnect between IBM corporate and the folks on the ground (someone told me once that armonk wants to behave more like a conglomerate that leeches 20% off the top of the divisions without doing any real investment or management) there seemes to be total confusion between levels of upper management. (perhaps because of uncomfortable pressure to outsource which diminishes US and EU managerial power bases, in favor of management chains in india) I don't think upper management really understands that you can't do things smarter by adding people in volume. but it seems like the outsourcing push always continues. its unfortunate that its being done so covertly, frank discussions with technical minded folk might really help them avoid alot of the potential landmines they seem headed for.

          • Well we all have escalating targets every year, but guess which division always makes or exceeds their target ? Yes ! Its Corporate HQ ! Now if they just told the rest of us how to do as well as they can, the company would go right up.
          • samuel L jackson inspired "salesman on a plane" strategy
            . Best. Strategy. EVAR.
          • so they never read the mythical man-month?
        • Re:Not Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:43AM (#17625334) Journal
          in recent years that there are a lot of smart people moving to Microsoft

          Heh.. and even smarter ones leaving them!

          What happens in big companies that holds people back?

          See The Peter Principle []. ISBN 0-330-02519-8.

          What could fix it?

          A near-death experience worked wonders for Apple about nine years ago.


        • What happens in big companies that holds people back? Too much micro-management? Too many meetings? Too much design by committee? Too much political infighting? Too much empire building and idea protecting?
        • by cnettel ( 836611 )
          "NTFS transactions" is a feature that actually is present in Vista. I don't think it ties in too well with registry operations, but a complex file copy/replace/remove task can be undone atomically, if you want it to. Not that it's really accessible in the GUI, but my guess would be that it will be used a bit more in Longhorn Server, just like Volume Shadow (hey, they're kind of related) was present in XP, while almost not exposed, only slightly used by the crippled backup app.
          • Oh right. My bad. I had assumed it had died because I used to read the blog about it [] but it stopped being updated in 2005. I thought it would be a cool way to run marginally trusted apps, like shareware, downloaded from the net that required admin access. Run them inside a transaction, then cancel the transaction when you quit the app so that nothing is altered on your machine. I must look into it again.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Development at IBM is highly decentralized, just the opposite of Microsoft. So I don't know that it makes sense to talk about morale at IBM as a whole... there are many large sites for R&D, consulting, manufacturing, etc. around the US and the world.
  • Information (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @11:59PM (#17624074)
    For those who are unaware of what WebSphere is:

    WebSphere refers to a brand of proprietary IBM software products, although the term also popularly refers to one specific product: WebSphere Application Server (WAS). WebSphere helped define the middleware software category and is designed to set up, operate and integrate e-business applications across multiple computing platforms using Web technologies. It includes both the run-time components (like WAS) and the tools to develop applications that will run on WAS.

    Source []
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Websphere is far more than WAS (Websphere Application Server)
      Two of the main probuts under this brand are
      1) Websphere MQ (formerly MQSeries) - The defacto standard for Messaging Middleware
      2) Websphere Message Broker - Does Message Transformation, Content based message routing and far more.
      (The Wimbledon Tennis scores is IMHO a big Broker Publish & Subscribe System)

      I can understand some of the problems at IBM. I work for a Websphere Business Partner and from the Global Services people I m
    • Like every IBM webpage, that's a lot of words that say very little.

      For instance, it doesn't actually explain WHAT WEBSPHERE IS! God I hate IBM.
  • ...championed Web services, patterns, Web 2.0, and business-driven development -- a potent combo for the future that Microsoft is trying to bring into being.

    Don't forget the tubes!
  • so.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by mastershake_phd ( 1050150 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:23AM (#17624264) Homepage
    a man who while at Blue championed Web services, patterns, Web 2.0, and business-driven development

    So this guy comes up with all those damn buzzwords?
  • Way happy (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by GregPK ( 991973 )
    Ever since they hired on that guy from Walmart to run retail strategy its been getting worse at least at retail. My retailers are having a lower opinion of Microsoft lately and the Microsoft Rep looks overworked and unhappy. I'm beginning to question as a stockholder about the direction of thier retail strategy which seeds the entire industy. Why they hired someone from Walmart I dunno... They definatly should have hired someone from Target.. At least they take care of thier workers and suppliers and pr
  • Are they really going to use him, or just deny him from being used by IBM?

    If they are going to use him, I wonder what his non-compete contract will restrict him from, if anything.
  • Being the father of websphere, I would imagine this guy to have his run of it and full of corporate burnout []. He's looking for a job with less responsibilities to where he can be in a room and give a bunch of ideas and tell others to execute. Collect his cash and go home. He's going to work 9am - 4pm four days a week max and be sitting pretty.

    Liken it unto Emit Smith taking a possition at the Cardnials to finish his carrer. It's easy money, it's a day job, like taking candy from a baby.
  • So, they had the guy responsible for Lotus Notes, and now they get the guy behind websphere. What next? The guy behind Tivoli?


    • by Dion ( 10186 )
      The guy behind Rational, MS needs him too!

      That way MS will have the maximum amount of suckage that have ever existed in one place.

      I propose that this will form a singularity of suck, a black hole of sorts, which in short order will concentrate all the suck on the planet and keep it locked at the MS campus for all time.

      Enjoy the sucking, because it will end soon!

      • by jcr ( 53032 )
        The guy behind Rational, MS needs him too!

        Fortunately, I never had occasion to deal that product. Friend who have done so, shudder when the subject comes up.


  • There appears to be quite a disconnect between vision, sales and development at IBM.

    Louis Gerstner performed more or less a miracle by getting these (technically extremely competent) people to actually work a bit together (in a fairly brutal way, read Who says elephants can't dance []) but either the visionaries are getting too old at IBM (because new talent cannot reach the top without going native) or there's not enough stewardship from the top to contain the internal strife that holds the company back.

  • by Godji ( 957148 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:56AM (#17626332) Homepage let me ask it out loud: What kind of person does one have to be to leave IBM and join Microsoft?
  • I've read a few snide remarks in the last 20 seconds allready, so I guess I'm not the only one notably unimpressed. Yet I have to ask: What is Websphere all about? What's the big, fat, hairy deal? It appears to me as some giant bloated hunk of web related software that appears to have just as much use as others of it's kind (BEA, Sun [Whatever Server] and so forth) with huge incomprehensible backend that have no practical use and application in getting the job done.

    Tell me, is it just some piece of 'ware to
    • Websphere is the framework that other apps build on. Policy based web apps and portals. It's bloated and can be very cumbersome, but does include everything including the kitchen sink when it comes to policy based security. The only thing I don't like is when loading another application from IBM, it will require websphere. But I still love Tivoli and IBM products are a tenfold better then that of BMC.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by danheskett ( 178529 )
      Well.. ..I am not going to shill for IBM, because really, I've worked with the hairy mess that is WebSphere, and it's like everything from IBM - a lifestyle choice. You don't just recommend it like you would Zope or FoR.

      But in the end you buy software in this class for a few key reasons:

      1. Ability to interface directly with many platforms. (see #2)

      2. The ability to write software that runs on many platforms. And I don't mean Linux or Windows when I say platforms, I mean like mainframe, mini, datacente
  • Holy crap, I always thought that Websphere was another one of Dr. Frankensteins little ones....
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @09:15AM (#17627432) Homepage Journal
    Whomever they can't replace in India, China and Brazil they cut loose onto bullshit projects that go nowhere because of 99 layers of management and a 'save our way to prosperity' mentality. Senior people at IBM are treated like Gods, comparatively speaking. The minions are denied training, travel, education, pay raises, bonuses while benefits get worse every year. First and second line managers are turned over like flapjacks so that the people who actually do the work have 2, 3, 4 managers a year and then if they're lucky they won't stumble into a department that's being 'reorganized' out of existence forcing them to find another job or quit. Meanwhile, the aristocrats lavish literally hundreds of millions of dollars on themselves while they send out epistles that a) extol the workers greatness and b) warn them to work harder for less for the sake of the firm.

    I can only imagine that if a senior guy leaves IBM for greener pastures they must have already decided, for no obvious reason at all to either kill all that person's products and projects, or, some palace infighting has left them holding their own ass.

    I sold all my IBM and MS stock last week because it finally went up and it was clearly time to bail before they fuck it up again. And this observer's opinion is that IBM may be broken up and spun off in the near future and MS may split into several different companies as well. Because neither of them can get out of their own way.
  • mix some notes with websphere and MS will truly have a pile on their hands.
  • Microsoft hires smart people. In fact, people with a bit of prestige or flamboyance get sucked in regularily (remember Blake Stone.) The good news is; after the Offer you Cannot refuse, those people fade away into total obscurity. But Microsoft KNOWS that some people have followers, so when Microsoft seconds someone, often they count on getting all those minions. And... only those people are in the Microsoft fold, the blinders are on and the stagnation begins. The festering pot of has-been good ideas n

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling