||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (October 2012)|
|Born||1951 (age 61–62)
Grand Rapids, Michigan
|Alma mater||University of Florida
Georgia Institute of Technology
|Known for||His work at Microsoft|
James "Jim" Edward Allchin (born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1951) is a former executive at Microsoft. He was responsible for many of the platform components from Microsoft including Microsoft Windows, Windows Server, server products such as SQL Server, and developer technologies. He may be most known for building Microsoft's server business. He is also known for his leading role in the architecture and development of the directory services technology Banyan VINES. He has won numerous awards through the years such as Technical Excellence Person of Year in 2001. After sixteen years at Microsoft, Allchin retired in early 2007 — on the day that Microsoft officially released the Windows Vista operating system to consumers. He is now a professional musician.
Early years 
Allchin was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1951. While he was still an infant, the Allchin family moved to Keysville, Florida, where his parents worked on a farm. Allchin grew up in a tin-roof shack his father built. Later, Allchin and his older brother Keith also worked on the farm to help the family's finances.
While fixing equipment on the farm, Allchin developed an interest in engineering. He briefly studied electrical engineering at the University of Florida, but dropped out to play in a number of bands. He later returned to the university and graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science in 1973.
After receiving his degree, Allchin joined Texas Instruments, where he helped build a new operating system. Afterwords, he followed a former lecturer, Dick Kiger, to Wyoming, where he helped start a company which provided computer services nationwide before moving on to another company in Dallas, Texas.
After his stint of employment, Allchin returned to his studies, gaining an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1980. While studying towards a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology in the early eighties, he was the primary architect of the Clouds distributed object-oriented operating system; his thesis was entitled "An Architecture for Reliable Decentralized Systems".
In 1983, Allchin was recruited to Banyan by founder Dave Mahoney, eventually rising through the company to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. During his seven years at Banyan, he was the principal architect of the VINES distributed operating system, including the StreetTalk directory protocol.
Bill Gates tried to recruit a reluctant Allchin to join Microsoft for a year, finally persuading him in 1990 by telling him that whatever he created would reach a wider customer base through Microsoft than through anyone else.
Allchin is known as a prolific computer programmer/engineer. Allchin is known for debugging systems remotely by having the person on the phone toggle in hexadecimal via the front panel switches of early computers to correct problems.
Initially, Gates put Allchin in charge of revamping the Local Area Network Manager, using his networking expertise. However, Allchin scrapped the project, citing the need to start fresh.
Allchin's first high-profile project at Microsoft was the Cairo operating system, which was originally intended to replace Windows NT. At the NT Developer Conference in July 1992, Allchin gave a presentation about the future Microsoft operating system. One of the main goals for Cairo was the ability for users to locate files based on their content as opposed to their name. Users would also have access to files stored on other machines on a network as easily as they had access to files on their own hard drives. Cairo was originally scheduled to ship as a single package in 1994. After several delays, it was finally released in pieces; the technology was shipped in successive operating system releases. The Cairo and Windows NT groups were combined, and Allchin created a new client and server organization focused on business and IT users. Allchin replaced Dave Cutler as the lead developer on Windows NT version 3.5 onwards. This led to conflict with Vice President Brad Silverberg, who was in charge of the development of Windows 95, the operating system which was aimed at the personal computer market as opposed to Windows NT's business computer market.
In 1999, Microsoft re-organized its corporate structure. The Consumer Division, which maintained versions of Windows for home users and the Business & Enterprise Division, which maintained Windows NT, were combined into a single operating system division: the Platform Group. Allchin became the vice president of the new combined group. This promotion put him in charge of the development of both the home and business versions of Windows. With the release of Windows XP in 2001, both business and client versions of the operating system utilized the same code base. The server business saw substantial growth during this period of time.
On September 20, 2005, Microsoft announced that Allchin would become co-president of a new Platform Products and Services Group, which combined the old Platform Group, Server and Tools Group, and the MSN Group. Microsoft also announced that Allchin would retire after Windows Vista shipped, leaving Kevin Johnson as the president.
Allchin was a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Microsoft — a small group responsible for developing Microsoft's core direction along with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. He was said to be blunt, technical, and straightforward. Bill Gates summarized Allchin:
|“||"He's a brilliant technologist, visionary, and a strong leader."||”|
Running the most profitable product areas within Microsoft caused Allchin to be included in many negotiations and disputes along with his business and technical leadership responsibilities.
According to Dr. John, Brad Silverberg, the Microsoft executive, who had been responsible for Windows 95, emailed several people in Microsoft 27 September 1991:
|“||... after IBM announces support for dr-dos at comdex, it's a small step for them to also announce they will be selling netware lite, maybe sometime soon thereafter. but count on it. We don't know precisely what ibm is going to announce. my best hunch is that they will offer dr-dos as the preferred solution for 286, os 2 2.0 for 386. they will also probably continue to offer msdos at $165 (drdos for $99). drdos has problems running windows today, and I assume will have more problems in the future.||”|
Jim Allchin replied:
|“||You should make sure it has problems in the future. :-)||”|
During the United States v. Microsoft antitrust trial, emails sent by Allchin to other Microsoft executives were entered as evidence by the government lawyers to back up their claim that the integration of Internet Explorer and Windows had more to do with their competition with Netscape Communications Corporation than innovation.
During the Caldera v. Microsoft case, emails from Allchin to Bill Gates were introduced as evidence. One email, from September 1991, included Allchin telling Gates that "We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger."
In August 1998, Allchin asked an engineer named Vinod Valloppillil to analyse the open source movement and the Linux operating system. Valloppillil wrote two memos that were intended for Senior Vice-President Paul Maritz who was, at the time, the most senior executive after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. Both memos were leaked and became known as the Halloween documents.
On September 29, 1998, Allchin was deposed to respond to the testimony of Professor Edward Felten. He later testified in court from February 1 to February 4, 1999. Some of his testimony centered on whether Internet Explorer could be removed as stated by Felten or not. While Allchin proved his written testimony was correct in court, a video-taped demonstration created by Microsoft attorneys, which supposedly illustrated Allchin's points, was shown to be misleading. David Boies believed it was an avoidable mistake made by the Microsoft attorneys.
In May 2002, Allchin testified before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly during the settlement hearing between Microsoft and the nine states (as well as the District of Columbia) involved in the United States v. Microsoft antitrust trial. Allchin was called to testify on two issues, the first of which gained the most publicity. In relation to the issue of sharing technical API and protocol information used throughout Microsoft products, which the states were seeking, Allchin's testimony discussed how releasing certain information could increase the security risk to consumers.
|“||It is no exaggeration to say that the national security is also implicated by the efforts of hackers to break into computing networks. Computers, including many running Windows operating systems, are used throughout the United States Department of Defense and by the armed forces of the United States in Afghanistan and elsewhere.||”|
According to exhibits filed in 2006 by the plaintiff in the case of Comes v. Microsoft, Allchin wrote a memo to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer in January 2004, one which was critical of Microsoft and Longhorn. The letter said that Gates and Ballmer had lost their way and compared them to Apple whom he believed had not.
|“||I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way. I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems [our] customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn’t translate into great products.
I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft.... Apple did not lose their way....
Allchin was also critical of Microsoft relaxing its requirements for computers to carry the 'Vista Capable' badge. The seal, designed to inform customers of a computers ability to run the Windows Vista operating system, was not initially intended for computers running Intel's 915 chipset. This was overturned, however, after Intel voiced their dissatisfaction with the decision. In an email to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, Allchin wrote:
|“||I believe we are going to be misleading customers with the Capable program. OEMs will say a machine is Capable and customers will believe that it will run all the core Vista features.
...We must avoid confusion. It is wrong for customers.
Post Microsoft - Musician 
Today, Allchin devotes his time to music and charity. Allchin writes and performs music (www.jimallchin.com). He released his first album, Enigma, in 2009. He called the album a beta test. In September 2011, Allchin released a second, blues-themed album: Overclocked. The album received widespread acclaim in the Blues community (see quotes at http://www.jimallchin.com/press).
- Allchin, James Edward (1982). A suite of algorithms for maintaining replicated data using weak correctness conditions. Georgia Institute of Technology. ISBN B0006YHLIY.
- Allchin, James Edward (1982). Object-based synchronization and recovery. Georgia Institute of Technology. ISBN B0006YLEL4.
- Allchin, James Edward (1983). Support for objects and actions in CLOUDS: Status Report. Georgia Institute of Technology. ISBN B0006YHLI4.
- Allchin, James Edward (1983). An architecture for reliable decentralized systems. Georgia Institute of Technology. ISBN B0006YIFDY.
- Allchin, James Edward (1983). Facilities for supporting atomicity in operating systems. Georgia Institute of Technology. ISBN B0006YHLQG.
- Allchin, James Edward (1983). How to shadow a shadow. Georgia Institute of Technology. ISBN B00071W5PA.
- "Jim Allchin Retires from Microsoft". DailyTech. February 1, 2007.
- "Person of the Year". PC Magazine. November 13, 2001. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- Microsoft (January 30, 2007). "Jim Allchin (Former) Co-President, Platforms & Services Division". Microsoft PressPass. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
- Bank, David (2001). Breaking Windows. Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-0315-1.
- Bayers, Chip (December 1999). "Code Warrior". Wired. Retrieved 2006-10-28.
- "An architecture for reliable decentralized systems". Georgia Institute of Technology. 1983. Retrieved 2008-05-14.
- Markoff, John (June 1993). "Profile/James Allchin; Bill Gates Has a Vision; Can This Man Deliver?". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Spafford, Gene (November 1990). "Real Programmers Don't Write Specs". Ed Post. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Zachary, G. Pascal (1994). Showstopper! The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft. Warner Books. ISBN 0-02-935671-7.
- Dudley, Brier (January 29, 2007). "Vista chief proud of accomplishments". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- Microsoft (April 24, 2008). "Microsoft Reports Record Third-Quarter Revenue". Microsoft earnings release. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- Microsoft (July 18, 2000). "Microsoft Microsoft 2000 Annual Report". Microsoft Annual Report. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- Microsoft (July 19, 1999). "Microsoft 1999 Annual Report". Microsoft Annual Report. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
- Microsoft (September 20, 2005). "Microsoft Realigns for Next Wave of Innovation and Growth". Microsoft press release. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
- Jim Allchin. "Survey Says: "MS OK", but Dr. John is not convinced".
- Susman, Stephen D.; Eskridge III, Charles R.; Southwick, James T.; Susman, Harry P.; Folse III, Parker C.; Pulumbo, Ralph H.; Harris, Matt; McCune, Phil; Engle, Lynn M.; Hill, Stephen J.; Tibbitts, Ryan E. (1999-04). "In the United States District Court - District of Utah, Central Division - Caldera, Inc. vs. Microsoft Corporation - Consolidated statement of facts in support of its responses to motions for summary judgement by Microsoft Corporation - Case No. 2:96CV 0645B" (Court document). Caldera Inc. Archived from the original on 1999. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
- "Comes v. MS Antitrust Trial Begins in Iowa". Groklaw. December 5, 2006. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
- Auletta, Ken (2001). World War 3.0 Microsoft and its Enemies. Random House. ISBN 0-375-50366-8.
- Allchin, Jim (May 3, 2002). "Written Direct Testimony of Jim Allchin". Microsoft. Retrieved 2008-05-15.
- Jim Allchin (January 7, 2004). "FW: losing our way...". Retrieved 2007-08-28.
- Joseph Tartakoff (November 16, 2008). "Vista specs changed to help Intel". Retrieved 2008-11-16.
- Channel 9 Interview with Jim Allchin, August 2005