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New Federal CIO Is Former Microsoft, FCC Exec 59

msmoriarty writes "The second-ever federal CIO (the first, Vivek Kundra, resigned in June) will be Steven VanRoekel, who worked with Microsoft for 15 years, running the company's Web Services and Platform Strategy and Windows Server Solutions groups. He went to the FCC in 2009, where he then advocated for open government and open platforms. VanRoekel's title on his twitter feed has already been changed to 'United States Chief Information Officer.'" According to reader dcblogs, VanRoekel is also a hefty political donor, having given $50,000 toward Obama's inauguration festivities.
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New Federal CIO Is Former Microsoft, FCC Exec

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  • A man who actually has a good history and knowledge in information technologies is taken as government CIO. I'd say that's a good thing, especially as he is promoting open government and open platforms. Really freshening actually. But true slashdot style let's get the Microsoft bashing going, not even thinking MS was probably the hottest company to work for 15 years ago. 3.. 2.. 1.. GO!
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Toe, The ( 545098 )

      But true slashdot style let's get the Microsoft bashing going

      Already on it! See next post.

    • I'm not going to bash Microsoft necessarily. However, I raise an eyebrow when I see that he's made non-trivial donations to politicians. I wonder if it's possible for him to bring the transparency of open government and open platforms he's advocated. If so, great. If not, well, it won't be much of a change from what we already have. I guess then that this appointment can't be any worse than a lot of people who might have been appointed. It remains to be seen if it will be better.

      • by capnkr ( 1153623 )
        He paid $50K to help elect the guy we have (an amount that is not peanuts by any stretch), and now has taken a job within the administration while in the full knowledge that the guy he supported, and the one who's been in office, have apparently 2 widely, wildly different agendas (...from "Hope and Change" while running, to "Same Old, Same Old" once in office...). And he's from Microsoft, with 15 years of Ballmer-brainwashing stored up in his noggin.

        I'm not scared of what's going to come from this, but I'm
        • And he's from Microsoft, with 15 years of Ballmer-brainwashing stored up in his noggin

          Then again, he might use this as an opportunity to get back at Ballmer. Not all escapees relate that closely to boss alpha monkey.

        • He paid $50K to help elect the guy we have (an amount that is not peanuts by any stretch)

          TFS said it was to help fund the inauguration festivities, i.e. after Obama had already been elected.

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        I'd be more concerned to find out that he still has large holdings of Microsoft stock.

        I fully expect another Nokia situation, where an ex-Microsofter is brought in and sees that the 'obvious' solution is to discard whatever govt agencies are working on and replace them with all Microsoft solutions, regardless of cost. Please prove me wrong.

        • I've seen a lot of government server rooms. Except for older legacy systems, it's mainly Microsoft, with a bit of Sun to run Oracle or the few thin client installations. Mainframes and others make up maybe a percent if that much.

          Look at government job listings, or contractor jobs working with government. It's Microsoft and Oracle for the most part, and Cisco if you're doing networking.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      I'm not sure if parent is troll or ironic.

      But the donor part is interesting - did he buy his position? Politics looks more and more like the ancient feodal system where you could purchase yourself a title like Baron of someplace.

  • So? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Thursday August 04, 2011 @04:30PM (#36990356)

    There are several former Google employees working in the administration as well. Eric Schmidt even serves as one of Obama's technology advisers.

    • Re:So? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @04:47PM (#36990570)

      So, give the president money, you get a job. It's called corruption.

      • by bonch ( 38532 ) *

        My point is that this story was posted because of the Microsoft connection, not the presidential donation. People in government are actively involved in politics, which often involves donations to candidates they support. That's just common sense and is hardly scandalous.

        If you want to complain about trading money for power, Obama personally attended a fundraiser at Marissa Mayer's house a week before the FTC dropped its inquiry into Google's Street View data-harvesting.

      • I thought he called it transparency? That thing that has ironically never actually appeared.

      • So, give the president money, you get a job. It's called corruption.

        At least he has some experience in the field. Unlike, say, Brownie [wikipedia.org]

        • For the current crop,
          Clinton had no diplomatic experience (no, First Lady doesn't count)
          Panetta had no defense experience
          LaHood's transportation experience was very thin
          Napolitano was (and is) pretty clueless on security issues
          Obama himself had never held an executive position (the thinnest experience for an elected president in scores of years)

          But he does have a few people who I must admit had the background, such as Holder, Rice and Geithner.

          Then experience or lack thereof is not necessarily an indicator

  • Revolving Door (Score:2, Redundant)

    by cosm ( 1072588 )
    I'd like to stay positive and believe this man will bring us the transparency that was touted during the election, but precedent shows this will probably not happen. Current admin is just as bad about denying FOIA request, holding secret meetings, passing bills and resolutions (house and senate responsible too) without giving anybody time to read them, keeping things secret as a matter of 'national security', sending national security letters to keep people from discussing their interactions with the gov't,
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      What's your point? The government is broken? We know that. As long as people think that democrats and republicans are in any way interested in actually fixing what is broken and keep voting for the liars then it'll will not only stay broken but continue to get worse. Get used to it because it's going to get a lot worse.

      • by cosm ( 1072588 )

        What's your point? The government is broken? We know that. As long as people think that democrats and republicans are in any way interested in actually fixing what is broken and keep voting for the liars then it'll will not only stay broken but continue to get worse. Get used to it because it's going to get a lot worse.

        My point is: business as usual. Sorry for apparently not adding anything worth mentioning my friend. And no, don't get used to it. The more you raise these sorts of issues in public forums, the higher the chance that somebody unaware of these sorts of things gets exposure. If I can at least get one person to open their eyes to at least research our county's issues, then I am helping out at least, in a little way, but better than staying silent, don't you think? I stay politically active in the real-world; b

        • It will be a two-sided coin for the foreseeable future.

          The only hope is in changing the existing parties. At the very least I would suggest supporting those within their own parties with a strong penchant for fighting against those parties. Not that I like these people, but here are two good examples of the concept.

          Dennis Kucinich, someone liberals adore. He is single-minded in his pursuit of his issues even when it doesn't agree with his party. He has no problem speaking out about the hypocrisy in his part

          • I readily agree with Paul and Kucinich but not Palin. Palin did not get famous for knocking out encumbants, she got famous for being a ditz.

          • We have the concept of "third parties". Or, indeed, fourth, fifth and sixth parties. Rather than the practicalities of the political system forcing everyone into the R/D camps, why not splinter out these people/groups who represent a difference of opinion? It's not like the US hasn't had multiple/different parties in the past, so why is it that the "Tea Party" operates within the Republican party? Why not go out and say that they're an entirely separate party that represent a different-yet-still-conservativ

            • Another party just isn't viable with our system. The federal system and the system in all of the states is set up to favor the two parties. You can even check a box for "straight ticket" voting in many states.

              The electoral system with "winner takes all" in most states ensures two-party in presidential elections. Money won't necessarily do it. Ross Perot threw millions into his campaign, got a good chunk of the popular vote, and not one single electoral vote.

              The system of the federal and state governments wo

      • Government is not broken. The Electorate is. WE get exactly who we deserve, because we fall for stupid slogans "Hope Change" and think that is going to fix everything.

        And what frustrates me the most is a large majority of the people here don't even realize that their own views are contradictory, in that they see the solution to all of mans problems coming from government mandates, while hating those very mandates that affect them negatively. They want higher Taxes, but not on themselves. They want Universal

    • http://www.data.gov/ [data.gov]

      They're at least making efforts to add transparency.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @04:42PM (#36990500)

    This guy giving 50,000 to Obama, Gates giving most of his contributions to Democrats, and Al Gore sitting on Apple's board. When you use closed source, you are helping the Democrats. When you use Linux, you are depriving money from the Democrats and therefore are helping the Republicans.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Richard Stallman's evil plan has been exposed!
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @04:47PM (#36990576)

    Is that "Microsoft Open", "FOSS Open", or does he use some other definition?

    Does he consider IIS to be "open", for example?

    I clicked around in an attempt to resolve all this, but what info I was able to find was all politician-level vague.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      It all depends on your definition of open. I'm guessing he's going to be using MicroSoft's definition. It's not like the government's going to hire Stallman you know.

    • Neither. 'Open Platform' just means the data is available through documented APIs and SDKs.

      You can be completely closed source but offer hooks to the data. For instance Facebook is closed source but it's an open platform since developers can access all of the data and write their own plugins to interface with the application.

    • Tap a Microsoft exec, get a Microsoft solution.

      Just ask Nokia.

  • by js3 ( 319268 )

    So what?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This kind of payoff [telegraph.co.uk] is SOP for the Messiah.

    Nearly 80 per cent of President Barack Obama's top campaign donors have been rewarded with senior United States government jobs, according to a new study.

  • I've found that everytime I come across a CIO (or whatever title of the month the IT manager has) who's worked in Microsoft, they convert the whole set-up to Microsoft. Whether that's a good idea or not. Sometimes they don't even go through the motions of going to tender, and just start buying the licences.

    Replace the '70s mantra "no-one ever got fired for buying IBM" with "no-one ever got criticised for recommending Microsoft".

"An entire fraternity of strapping Wall-Street-bound youth. Hell - this is going to be a blood bath!" -- Post Bros. Comics