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Resolve and Fortitude : Microsoft's ''SECRET POWER BROKER'' breaks his silence [Kindle Edition]

Joachim Kempin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This is the story of a German-born executive, JK, who immigrated to the
United States to aid Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s top honchos
to build a commanding software empire. He led Microsoft’s OEM division
that was responsible for sales to PC manufacturers, and drove the deals
that made Microsoft Windows the world’s dominating operating system.
Find out how much resolve, fortitude, and perseverance were needed
to make that part of the PC revolution come true; what strategies were
employed to win the Internet browser war; how IBM was beaten; what
drove Apple to the brink of disaster; and how shady politicians and hapless
competitors eventually goaded the Feds to ensnare Microsoft in a web of
antitrust accusations.
Peek behind the curtain and be the first-ever outsider to glimpse into
Microsoft’s power nexus. Understand how Microsoft’s nearly mystical
marketing shrewdness and tech prowess are intensely propelled by
paranoia and fear of missing the next computing paradigm shift.
The press labeled JK Bill Gates’s “enforcer.” No wonder he was called
upon as a pivotal antitrust trial witness to defend what loathing competitors
labeled Microsoft’s “evil empire.” Follow what experts believe was the
most protracted, and fierce trial of the century. Relive the courtroom
drama, and read the author’s critical analysis of the judicial proceedings
and their aftermaths.
Losing that trial partially started Microsoft’s demise, and power struggles
from within quickened it. Get to know the real forces that altered
Microsoft’s resolve-and fortitude-dominated leadership style. Find out if
Windows 8 could be an inflection point, conjuring enough magic to ring
in a renaissance and attract the Facebook generation to a born-again
modern Microsoft.

Product Details

  • File Size: 650 KB
  • Print Length: 392 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Xlibris (October 29, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A22EXL8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,140 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get a sense of what it was like to be there... December 20, 2012
By tomhen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you want to get a sense of what it was like to be at Microsoft in the challenging growth years, this book is for you.
Joachim has put together the story that allows you to relive those early years, when Microsoft was struggling to gain relevance in the world.
He describes how he and the other Microsoft exec's played a constant world wide chess game (with partners and foes) to succeed.
He then, maybe even more importantly, describes how the company has devolved once the government interceded.
How it morphed into a "play it safe" workplace, where detailed reports for middle management became more important than customer care and productivity.
Full disclosure. I worked in his department, and immensely enjoyed reliving this history.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joachim spent most of his years at Microsoft leading the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) sales group, responsible for licensing software (and some hardware) to personal computer manufacturers like Compaq, Dell, Gateway 2000, HP, IBM, Olivetti, Packard Bell, Sony, Toshiba, Zenith, and so many other big and small companies around the world.

During my 14 years at Microsoft (1985-1999), I worked primarily on operating systems (OS/2, MS-DOS, Windows, Internet Explorer, and Java), but I spent relatively little time with the OEM group, so this book was a fun stroll down memory lane for me, but from a quite different perspective.

Joachim gets the big things right: the spirited, hardworking culture of that period; the very competitive marketplace for operating systems and the ever-changing promise of new hardware innovations; the ridiculous anti-trust lawsuits; the increasingly political nature of interactions as the company got larger; and the need for Microsoft to split apart so that individuals can be freed up to innovate.

Joachim spends almost no time on the efforts of the product development teams, leaving the impression that they were barely important to the success of his OEM group. Unless of course they missed a promised ship date. ;-)

The most compelling sections of this book (for me) are devoted to his individual interactions with the CEOs of various OEMs, his many conversations with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, and his blow-by-blow retelling of the 1998-1998 US Department of Justice anti-trust lawsuit.

The first appendix is an overview of the progress and key milestones of computer hardware and software for the period of his story -- an admirable job giving how much happened -- and the second appendix provides a bit of his back story.

Younger readers might find all this history a bit boring, but I think anyone who lived through the "PC Wars" of the 1980s and 1990s will find Joachim's tale fascinating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Strand of Microsoft History February 6, 2013
By vintner
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book provides a very useful supplement to the many technical histories and memoirs of Microsoft. Kempin, in his long tenure, was the master of the Microsoft strategy of selling system software to multiple competing computer manufacturers--a very rare challenge. He has many fascinating insights into how this path led to Microsoft's dominant position. The book is completely non-technical, providing the perspective of someone at the top of the company but outside the product development groups. Kempin provides fascinating vignettes of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer during the great growth period. There is a great deal of new information in the book--there has never been any source for this material before.

Kempin is particularly to be applauded for his frank discussion of the corrupt and political antitrust prosecutions of Microsoft, and the biased and incompetent judges who produced such a muddled result. He also provides an inside view of the effect of the prosecutions on the company and its products, leading to the loss of Microsoft's hard-core startup culture with a transition to bureaucracy, and a resulting mass exodus of talent.

The book is intensely personal, demonstrating the value of the publishing revolution which has made it possible now for any individual to publish a major book without the interference of agents, editors, or publishing companies. The text is full of important and revealing details which would have been edited out by a commercial publisher, and these greatly enhance its value. The author's personal style has been preserved also, without conventional copy-editing (such as his many substitutions of one English word for another that sounds similar, and his oddity of always referring to companies as feminine--"How Microsoft Got Her Stripes"). But he writes very well, and the balance is strongly in favor of unfiltered access to Kempin's memoir. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One-Sided History of Microsoft November 14, 2013
I really, really did not like this book.

I was hoping to read a book that gave insight into the company, competitors, and the decision-making process at historical moments.

Instead, the book talks about the author's greatness and glosses over all (sometimes major!) Microsoft mistakes. Competitors are never analyzed in depth; too often, the assumption is that competitors are acting a certain way just to make trouble for Microsoft. End of story. No analysis.

The tone is at odds with the topic. There are many sentence fragments, colloquialisms, and expressions that break the narrative flow. There was quite a bit of rather tasteless bad-mouthing, of people both within and without Microsoft. That lack of respect from the author made me put the book down multiple times, until I finally gave up without finishing it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Did u have an editor?
While it is interesting to understand the inner workings and history of Microsoft, the book is poorly edited with gross misspelling, grammatical errors, and questionable structure. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rwd
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Joachim Kempins "Resolve and Fortitude"
As an ex-Microsoft guy I enjoyed this book. It is a very good account of the early days at Microsoft and well worth the read. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Hans Hoffmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read about Microsoft Strategy and Execution thru the 90's
Was fun re-living the days of Microsoft's growth of the 90's and the days before Windows on pc's were the norm. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dwight Diercks
5.0 out of 5 stars How it actually happened
I was a lower-level observer/participant in some activities described here. Kempin is detailed, gracious, and more accurate than other descriptions or histories you might read. Read more
Published 16 months ago by A. Pearson
5.0 out of 5 stars Does Microsoft need alot of Mr. Kempin in their employees today?
I was employed at a major computer manufacturer at the time of the WIN 95 and was exposed to the desktop application debate, browsers and even the UI shells over operating systems... Read more
Published 16 months ago by MS Fan
4.0 out of 5 stars good info
good history, relatively easy to understand if you are at least 35 yrs old, can gain some new insight on strategy
Published 17 months ago by Jon
4.0 out of 5 stars Can Microsoft emulate IBM?
For anyone interested in learning what it was like to work at one of the world's most successful tech start-ups, this is a great read. Read more
Published 17 months ago by GrantD
4.0 out of 5 stars A journey back in the past and what a past!
I read this book in few hours; I could not help but continue reading, often with a big smile on my face. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Giorgia Palazzo
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Story
Really great book for early Microsoft Days.
Did'nt like Steve Balmmer bashing. It always looks like author is Jackie Chan and all the rest are dumb idiots.
Published 17 months ago by S. Rana
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