John Thompson is an ass. There, I said it. Whew…
So now, let me ‘splain. I did not really have an opinion of John Thompson until the 2005 RSA Conference (except for the acquisition of Veritas – it made sense to me, but it royally screwed me over at a critical time – explained below). I just thought of him as another CEO of a pretty successful security company. Either he had not done enough to stand out to me, or I simply had not paid attention to him up to that point. Anyway, I was sitting in the audience at RSA 2005, and I had just finished listening to Bill Gates talking about their entry into security. Like many people, I met this with apprehension and doubt, but I still listened with respect. But then Mr. Thompson came up after Bill was done, and that respect factor went right out the window (for Mr. Thompson, that is). He proceeded to rip Bill Gates up one side and down the other, and it was the single most rude and disrespectful display I have ever seen.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a MSFT fanboy. I have slammed them on many an occasion. But what Mr. Thompson did was really beyond just trying to head off a competitor. It was unprofessional, and it smacked of school-yard bully tactics. And to add to it, Mr. Thompson had a crew waiting at the doors handing out review forms to see what the audience thought of his little speech. I gave it negatives across the board, handed it back with a sneer, and then slapped the person who handed it to me (OK, that last part about smacking them was made up… but I DID sneer).
Now he is being downright condescending towards McAfee. When asked how he felt about them since they are viewed as Symantec’s chief competitor, he said:
It’s a nice little company and they do a nice job. The industry needs competition. But we don’t see their portfolio as competing directly with ours. We help customers manage their infrastructures better.
Dude, come on. Please get off your friggin’ crystal tower. You can debate your quality versus their quality if you want, but pitiful statements like that are beyond ridiculousness. Confidence is needed in a CEO. Arrogance just looks petty. Eric Hoffer said, "“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength." You are looking pretty weak, Mr. Thompson.
BTW, I am not a McAfee fanboy either. But Mr. Thompson, I have run and managed both your AV products and McAfee AV products in ENTERPRISE settings. McAfee has ALWAYS beat yours, hands down. And that is in management, performance, and accuracy. That is my experience. And while I have limited experience in some of your other products, I can say that from the outside, your product line looks like a mismash of crap.
And your acquisition of Veritas way back when? I was actually one of the few people who thought that acquisition made sense. But that also hosed me in so many ways. Like when I was trying to perform my DR test in Arizona. I’m a big boy, so I take responsibility for that kind of failure. But horrible support from Veritas / Symnatec single-handedly screwed up my DR test. Support was already bad at Veritas, and you jacked it up even worse. Great job.
So there’s my rant. I hope I don’t get sued for libel. BTW, it looks like someone else out there feels the same way I do about Mr. Thompson (though they said it in a nicer way).