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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Kai-Fu Lee's move from Microsoft to Google

I bought a copy of Kai-Fu Lee's PhD thesis almost 20 years ago: brilliant work on a speech recognition system called Sphinx. Kai-Fu Lee is one of several high profile tech people who have left Microsoft recently. Microsoft has money and a tight grip on the desktop, but I wonder about their ability to move into new product spaces: buying other companies only gets you so far. Linux is basically old technology: unix clone and X Windows (which I have been using for close to 20 years) - but, Linux is free. Disagree if you will, but I think that the next version of Windows will end up being a success or failure tipping point for the entire company. To me the telling point is that Microsoft has to stop supporting older versions of Windows to force customers to upgrade - a bit of a cliche, but they are their own best competitor.