In a 2004 E-mail to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, a senior Microsoft executive ranted that the company had lost sight of what its customers wanted and that he "would buy a Mac today if I wasn't working for Microsoft." 


The E-mail, one of 3 186 exhibits made public by the plaintiffs in the ongoing Comes versus Microsoft antitrust trial in Iowa, was written by Vista development chief, Jim Allchin.
In his 7 January 2004 missive, Allchin says to the two supremos: "This is a rant. I'm sorry.
"I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems are customers face are (sic). I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn't translate into great products.
"I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft," Allchin continues. "If you run the equivalent of VPC on a MAC (sic) you get access to basically all the Windows application software (although not the hardware). Apple did not lose their way. You must watch this new video below. I know this doesn't show anything for businesses, but my point is about the philosophy that Apple uses. They think scenario. They think simple. They think fast. I know there is nothing hugely deep in this."
Allchin then lists a URL for an Apple video clip.
He then goes on: "I must tell you everything in my soul tells me that we should do what I called plan (b) yesterday. We need a simple fast storage system. LH is a pig and I don't see any solution to this problem. If we are to rise to the challenge of Linux and Apple, we need to start taking the lessons of "scenario, simple, fast" to heart.
Jim "
Allchin is due to retire from Microsoft after the launch of Vista next week.
More at www.iowaconsumercase.org.