Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Microsoft's Man in Silicon Valley, Dan'l Lewin, Speaks!


A few weeks ago, BoomTown had lunch at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View with Dan’l Lewin, the software giant’s corporate VP for strategic and emerging business development.

In other words, Microsoft’s friendly face in the Valley, in charge of its operations there, which has about 2,000 employees.

Most of them work for other Microsoft (MSFT) divisions, leaving Lewin primarily responsible for the company’s relationships with start-ups, venture capitalists and industry partners.

It has, for example, relationships with Web 2.0 players like Digg and Facebook of late (pricey friendships, but friendly nonetheless). And it bought Tellme several years ago.

But Microsoft is not much of a big acquirer and has long been portrayed as Silicon Valley’s nemesis.

But times change and that image has been slowly shifting as its hammerlock of power has lessened with the surge of important players like Google (GOOG).

Lewin attributes that to more predictability from Microsoft (translation: not coming down like the Visigoths and pummeling folks without warning).

Unlike many Microsoft execs, Lewin has worked all around the tech industry, including at Apple (AAPL), NeXT Inc. and GO.

Here’s my chat with Lewin, where we talked about all that and more:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work