Iraqi Minister Flees
Monday, October 13, 2003
Takes on New Role at Microsoft
(Redmond, Wash.) In the latest development in the war in Iraq, the former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed Al-Shtupp has fled Iraq and has taken a new position with software giant Microsoft. Al-Shtupp will be heading up a new team at Microsoft as Director of Competitive Analysis focusing on the threat of Linux open source technology on Windows.
"We've long talked about the need for someone with a real battlefield mentality," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "When we saw the spin that Mohammed was able to put on things over the last few weeks in Iraq, we realized he would be a perfect fit here at Microsoft." Microsoft has recently seen significant market share erosion among low-end servers to open source technology supplied by IBM, Red Hat and others.
Microsoft has done well in recent years recruiting from adversary companies luring top developers and executives from companies such as Borland, Symbian, Banyan and others in recent years. But rarely has Microsoft recruited from outside of the computer industry. "We needed to get some fresh thinking in here," Ballmer admitted. "I wanted someone who could fight the good fight for us, despite overwhelming evidence that Windows no longer matters." Ballmer admitted that he and Chairman Bill Gates were initially skeptical of Al-Shtuppe's ability to understand the highly competitive computer industry. "But over the last few weeks, we say Mohammed take routine denial and make it into an art form," he said. "That's when we knew he could teach us a few things."
Al-Shtupp is excited about being a part of the Microsoft team. "Microsoft is a great company. Loads of smart, aggressive people. They have water, electricity and cheeseburgers," he said. "You could never get a good cheeseburger, even at the palace. Always overcooked, no bacon. To be honest, I think if the Marines had put in a McDonald's in Syria, they could have driven out the regime in a couple of days."
On the issue of competition, Al-Shtupp did not mince words. "The open source companies are sick in their minds," Al-Shtupp said later at a press conference. "They say they have 20% market share among servers. I say to you, this talk is not true. There is no presence of Linux infidels in corporate America, at all. We don't run any Linux any more at Microsoft. At least none that we will admit. And we think that's the same for our customers."
"I love this company," said Al-Shtupp. "In my country, when Saddam talked about a strong execution focus, it meant something entirely different."
About the author
Nate Orenstam is among the world's best programmers and a conscientious objector in the battle between Java and .Net.