May 27, 2014

Microsoft’s Most Clever Critic Is Now Building Its New Empire

Microsoft's decision to refashion Azure as a service where businesses could run practically any software, including Linux, says Mark Russinovich, was a direct response to discussions with longtime Microsoft customers. They wanted a way to move their existing software into the cloud, rather than just building new applications to suit Azure’s very specific architecture. “We needed to give them an on-ramp,” he says, and that’s what he helped design. It’s this kind of simple customer interaction, Russinovich explains, that shows how Microsoft is now aligning with his personal values. “It’s really just following some basics that can get lost in the heat of the drive to grab revenue and maximize profits: look at what you’re doing through the eyes of the customer, treat the customer with respect, and assume the customer is smart,” he says.

Judging from the recent growth in Microsoft’s Azure business, the move has paid off, despite increased competition from Google and Amazon. A Microsoft that runs Linux is a better Microsoft. But for Russinovich, this is merely a first step. The irony is that he believes the world will eventually embrace something that’s a lot more like Azure’s original architecture.

Read more at Wired.