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Renegades of the Empire: How Three Software Warriors Started a Revolution Behind the Walls of Fortress Microsoft Hardcover – Nov. 16 1999

4.0 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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Product details

  • Hardcover : 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0609604163
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0609604168
  • Item Weight : 617 g
  • Product Dimensions : 17.15 x 3.18 x 24.77 cm
  • Publisher : Crown (Nov. 16 1999)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.0 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

Product description

From Amazon

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is by no accounts a kind, nurturing type of manager. In conversation, according to Renegades of the Empire, Gates is said to challenge and goad people just to see how robustly they'll defend a position. He may not know whether they're right or wrong, but he likes to see how confident they are. In that environment, the meek don't do particularly well. But the three "software warriors" portrayed in Renegades of the Empire were over the top, even by Microsoft standards.

Alex St. John, Eric Engstrom, and Craig Eisler started at Microsoft as evangelists, the guys who persuade companies to create products to run on Microsoft operating systems. All three, separately and together, would end up giving the company fits with their cockiness and contrarian ways. Eventually, they would team up on a project called Chrome, a revolutionary technology designed to bring three-dimensional graphics to the Web. While these three bigger-than-life characters are vividly portrayed, this is mostly a story about technology: where the ideas come from, how it's developed, how internal company politics affects its development, and how outside companies are courted and cajoled to participate. Drummond, a skillful writer and dogged journalist, thoroughly explains all the technology--but, in the end, the acronyms take over. This makes for a tough read if you're not technologically inclined. Still, anyone with the slightest tech background should enjoy this peek behind Microsoft's silicon curtain. --Lou Schuler

From Publishers Weekly

This is the story of a failure in the software industry, a Microsoft project that never went into commercial production. The author, a San Diego Union technology and business writer, profiles the oddball team that orchestrated this effort, three characters who stand out even by the unconventional standards of Microsoft programmers (they were known around the company as the Beastie Boys). Their mission was originally to develop programming code that would run computer games from the Windows operating environment, a major step forward for personal computers. Almost as soon as a workable product was created, however, the team switched its sights to the next frontier, the Internet, and attempted to adapt the concept for Web surfers. This effort ultimately failed, due to conflicts in management objectives and bad timing; the programming produced required computing power that, in the mid-1990s was not yet part of the mainstream PC market. The "attack dog" personalities of the Beastie Boys also played a significant role, too significant for any general lessons to be learned from their failure. Although there is plenty of local colorAinsider descriptions of the Microsoft environment aboundAand programmers and gaming enthusiasts may find this saga entertaining, they are unlikely to gain any useful insights from a story that hinges more on the clash of particular egos than the more general mechanics of a working office culture. Author tour. (Dec.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Top reviews from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on December 11, 1999
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