Microsoft Critic Fired

By Deane Barker on September 26, 2003

Dan Geer, the CTO of a consulting firm called @Stake, co-wrote a paper (PDF) criticizing Microsoft’s market dominance. The paper has been getting a lot of press.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Over the years, Microsoft has deliberately added more and more features into its operating system in such a way that no end user could easily remove them. Yet, in so doing, the world’s PC operating system monopoly has created unacceptable levels of complexity to its software, in direct contradiction of the most basic tenets of computer security. …

We must take conscious steps to counter the security threat of Microsoft’s monopoly dominance of computing.”

Obviously, no punches were pulled. @Stake was not amused. Yesterday, Geer was summarily fired.

“…@Stake, where Geer worked as chief technical officer, said in a statement Thursday that the researcher had not gotten his employers’ approval for the study’s release, and that he was no longer associated with the company.

‘Participation in and release of the report was not sanctioned by @Stake,’ the security and consulting company said. ‘The values and opinions of the report are not in line with @Stake’s views.’”

@Stake and Microsoft have worked together in the past, though Microsoft denies any pressure or input into Geer’s dismissal.