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Former @stake CTO Dan Geer on Microsoft report, firing

Geer was fired abruptly after the report, critical of Microsoft, came out

By Dan Verton
October 1, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Dan Geer, the former chief technology officer at @stake Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., was fired last week as a result of his participation in an independent study of the security implications of Microsoft Corp.'s monopoly hold on the software industry (see story).
Although Geer said he learned of his firing from a press release, James Mobley, president and CEO of @stake, said "a number of unreturned phone calls" were placed to Geer before that statement was issued. "He finally returned my call after the release of the report, at which time I informed him that his services were no longer required," said Mobley, who added that he has "the greatest respect for Dr. Geer as a research scientist and security expert."
Geer spoke to Computerworld's Dan Verton yesterday in an interview from his home in Massachusetts.
What happened on Sept. 25? I'm still cautioned by my attorney not to be too precise about anything. But I learned I was fired from a press release. When I did eventually speak to the CEO, it was cold and short, and he had nothing to say but, "Your services are no longer required." And there was and has been nothing else beyond that.
One thing that your former employer has said is that you should have known that Microsoft was a client of the company and that, although it didn't necessarily disagree with everything in the report, your participation in the study showed a lack of respect for a major client. Is that unreasonable? If you knew my history, you would know that I am a commentator at the limit of my professional skill and integrity on lots of things a lot of the time. It's not as if there's a procedure to check everything with marketing. The reason I was recruited into this company in the first place was precisely for my ability to look over the horizon, to see the big picture and to umpire the game, if you will.
I once had someone explain to me that the way you could tell the difference between a young umpire, an experienced umpire and an old umpire was that the young umpire would say, "I call them as I see them." And the middle-aged umpire would say, "It's not a ball or a strike until I say it's a ball or a strike." And the old hand would say, "I make it a ball, or I make it a strike." If you don't mind me being a little immodest, I like to think that I'm approaching the



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