News Quickie: Microsoft Might Not Save Us

Turns out we’re not the only ones that harbor some doubt about Microsoft’s ability to single-handedly shelter Seattle from a housing downturn. That exact subject was the topic of a recent Times editorial by Brier Dudley.

Microsoft may not be minting millionaires anymore, but it’s growing at a time when Seattle’s glad for anything that can keep its housing market from crashing like in other parts of the country.

The company has buffered the region before. But the question I have, as we watch for darkening clouds, is whether Microsoft will have that same effect if the economy hits a truly rough patch in the future. It no longer has the same flexibility, now that its growth is slower, its investors are more restless and its latest venture — advertising — is more cyclical.

Being an opinion article, it is understandably light on hard facts and research, but it gets across the point that while Microsoft’s effect on the region is certainly positive, it’s probably not positive enough to save us from the inevitable.


(Brier Dudley, Seattle Times, 10.15.2007)

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About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    nitsuj says:

    Well if MSFT isn’t going to save Seattle what about this?


  2. 2
    TJ_98370 says:

    The cash register is a nice touch.

  3. 3
    Garth says:

    Looks like a pretty big impact to me

    From 1990 to 2004, Microsoft’s direct and indirect economic effect was responsible for half of King County’s employment growth, the report said. It said the livelihood of 233,220 people in the state depended on the company in 2004.

    Disclosure: My employer is a Microsoft vendor.

  4. 4
    christiangustafson says:

    The Zune and Vista industries will carry the entire region!

    It’s funny, I’m a Java/UNIX guy, but I work with a team of very solid .NET/Windows devs, some very smart and talented people. They go to all the seminars, use all the latest tools and techniques from Redmond, they’re pros. But ask them if they want to use Vista? LOL, you will get shrieks and howls of protest, I love it.

    Microsoft is doomed, producing horrid products and a pathetic me-too overall strategy. It’s time for them to downsize to a 20K “mini-Microsoft” scale.

  5. 5
    deprogram says:

    You know, I was just going to say something to that effect. I’ve been working with Microsoft products either as an end-user or an industry professional since Windows 3.1 – well over 10 years now. I refuse to use Vista. I just don’t think the interface paradigms they are forcing on us are productive. They look cool, yeah, but I’m more interested in being able to corral 50 different programs and switch between them quickly. A nifty transition effect is just going to slow me down. I use XP with all the eye-candy disabled.

    Funny thing is, you can still buy ‘business-class’ workstations with Windows XP preloaded. The poor consumers are stuck with Vista, but how many of them run more than a web browser anyway? Oh wait, those people are candidates for a Linux appliance. Oops.

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