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Resolve and Fortitude: Microsoft's ''SECRET POWER BROKER'' breaks his silence Hardcover – October 30, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147973201X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479732012
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,274,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tomhen on December 20, 2012
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Slivka on February 13, 2013
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 By vintner on February 6, 2013
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 By Chris812 on November 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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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