The Microsoft Years

Microsoft has honed the science of fingering human “prospects” at the prime of their life then like a spider they extract all vital creative juices from their brain stems until dry.

Okay maybe that is an overstatement; I should say they often leave them wrapped in a web of stock options worth millions. I was not to be immune. Early in 1985 a frantic marketing manager from the new Microsoft Press division seduced me into writing a number of computer books. Company standards were driven against our best efforts; our people were abused to absurd extremes. At the end, Microsoft had nailed my entire staff into hard wood and wormholes with “the requirements”. My valued authors were in tears and revolt.

Yet the book topics we had selected seemed so promising. I personally had dived into HyperTalk, only to discover later that this technology could not live up to its dream. I was justly proud of our productions, but I would come to swear I must never work with Microsoft again. One has to make a comprehensive and fair assessment of such a flap. And the reality is this: the creative effort that went into this series of 6 books was stunning. Even titles and cover art telegraphed our best ideas to readers when books hit the marketplace.

  • HyperTalk Bible
  • Macintosh Midnight Madness
  • Microsoft QuickC Programming
  • Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters
  • Microsoft Multiplan: Of Mice and Menus
  • Microsoft Macinations

The last title we produced for Microsoft was Microsoft Macinations. I was shunted into the studio for a sparkling color dust jacket photo. Microsoft spent more money on that single photograph session than they did on the proofreader. Go figure.