Mini-Microsoft Cutting Room Floor

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Retention Policy - New comment on Niall Sez Microsoft is Too Big and Paralyzed

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Niall Sez Microsoft is Too Big and Paralyzed":

"If you can demonstrate a clear business need to keep the email, then you can keep it. Otherwise, you should've already been deleting it. What's the problem with this policy?"

It wreaks of admission of guilt. Company lawyers hate email. It always mucks up their ability to hide illegal corporate actions. In daily work, IC's will just be honest. It is like open source. And it exposes an attorney's intent to obfuscate facts.

The problem with deletion is it creates a corporate culture of mistrust, paranoia and forces employees who suspect they are doing things that are illegal to save email in other ways, like printing it out, or backing up disk files to a CD. The end result is the company becomes more restrictive and the level of trust between employee and management is ended, as is innovation, creativity, loyalty, and a sense of good will about the work environment.

A better policy is to fire your lawyers and top executives executing the illegal policies in the first place. I recommend a squeegee to wipe the slime left behind afterwards. A company can only survive in a tyrannical environment for so long before it suffocates itself.

The other reason is another long tirade about protecting invention and innovative solutions regarding patent law, that may tend to leak out and get copied outside the walls of Microsoft, but since Microsoft does not invent, but instead adopts and copies as a means of corporate survival, this reason is not so important as the other one above. The policy also makes it easier fir companies to steal ideas and patent inventions of employees who have left.

(It was in the balance until that whole slime and last paragraph thing)

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