If you are a member of the Microsoft developer community, you've probably heard of the recent kerfuffle between Microsoft and the developer of TestDriven.NET that was publicized in his blog post Microsoft vs TestDriven.Net Express. I'm not going to comment directly on the situation especially since lawyers are involved. However I did find the perspective put forth by Leon Bambrick in his post TestDriven.net-Gate: Don't Blame Microsoft, Blame Jason Weber to be quite insightful.

Leon Bambrick wrote

If you have time, you really ought to read the whole thing. I've read as much as I can, and here's my analysis.

Right from the start, before tempers flared, Microsoft's representative, Jason Weber should've done a much better job of convincing Jamie not to release the express sku. Jason did put a lot of effort in, and Microsoft spent a lot of effort on this, but Jason sabotaged his own sides efforts right throughout.

The first clear mistake is that Jason should've never referred to Jamie's work as a "hack". He did this repeatedly -- and it seems to have greatly exacerbated the situation. What did that wording gain Jason (or Microsoft)? It only worked to insult the person he was trying to come to agreement with. Name calling doesn't aid negotiation.

When Jamie finally agreed to remove the express version, he wanted a credible reason to put on his website. Note that Jamie had backed down now, and with good treatment the thing should've been resolved at that point. Here's the wording that Jason recommended:

"After speaking with Jason Weber from Microsoft I realized that by adding features to Visual Studio Express I was in breach of the Visual Studio license agreements and copyrights. I have therefore decided to remove support for the Visual Studio Express SKU's from TestDriven.Net. Jason was very supportive of TestDriven.Net's integration into the other Visual Studio 2005 products and I was invited to join the VSIP program. This would allow me to fly to Redmond each quarter and work closely with the Visual Studio development team on deeper integration."

This wording is offensive on four levels. One Two Three Four. That's a lot of offense!

Firstly -- it acts as an advertisement for Jason Weber. Why? Arrogance maybe? He's lording it over Jamie.

Second -- it supposes that Jason should publicly admit to violations. He need never admit such a thing.

Third -- it includes mention of breach of "copyright". I don't think such an allegation ever came up until that point. So this was a fresh insult.

Fourth -- it stings Jamie's pride, by suggesting that he was bribed into agreement. Ouch

So just when they got close to agreement, Jason effectively kicked Jamie in the nuts, pissed in his face, poked him in the eye, and danced on his grave.

That's not a winning technique in negotiations.

I believe there is a lesson on negotiating tactics that can be extracted from this incident. I really hope this situation reaches an amicable conclusion for the sakes of all parties involved.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007 1:11:01 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I really don't know how to say this without sounding like a hater, but I'll try. To me, the real lesson to be learned here is to use a truly open-source toolkit so a vendor can't file suit when you try to make a tool used to develop for their platform better. This is a short-sighted move on Microsoft's part.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007 3:44:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
i read the stuff about you calling someone working in your father's house a servant. I know that this happened ages ago but i think you have issues that you need to deal with. What has OBJ done for Nigeria? NOTHING!!!!! If i were you, i would be ashamed to go about telling people that you are his son. People would curse you like hell. By you calling your fellow human being who is just under privileged a "servant" you have shown that you would probably end up like your dad who took all Nigerians like his servants. Power is not meant to be abused. Power is meant to be used to help other people. Nigeria is full of poverty ridden people who can't afford 3 square meals a day & you dare call someone a "servant?" 419 scammers do a lot of shit that gives a bad name to Nigeria. Why do they do this? There are no jobs for them, they can't feed their families so they start scamming people to make a living. What did OBJ do to help all these people? NOTHING!!! What about EFCC? He used it to get his enemies locked up. Was that what EFCC was set up for? I know what your father does has nothing to do with you but by you calling a worker in your house a "servant", it shows you have gone to his level. I feel sorry for you.

PS- Just wanted to bring something to your attention. Have you noticed no one visits your blog & no one is interested in what you have to say??? Think about it.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007 8:23:51 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Just wanted to bring something to your attention. I visit your blog, and am interested in what you have to say. Feel free to stop thinking about it. ;)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 1:26:42 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)

Lawyers or no lawyers - Microsoft should put developers first. Microsoft gave him MVP status for heck sake.

Send some emails to the MVP leads and get TestDriven.NET some support.

David J. Smith
Wednesday, June 6, 2007 6:51:01 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Hi Dare

Ah, very glad you found my comment insightful. I'm a long time fan (and user) of your output. When I saw inbound links from you I was worried that you'd highlight an opposing position.

I think the simple psychological/human facts of this case are being overlooked by most people. It's too easy to jump on the bandwagon of either side. But it's messier than all that.

Thanks for reading! Take care.
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