back to article Google retrieves coder's Microsoft badge from rubbish bin

Jon Skeet - the Microsoft-happy Google developer whose Mountain View overlords "advised" him to give up his Microsoft MVP badge - has now regained this Ballmerian status symbol after a compromise with Google's "Code of Conduct" police. "I'm delighted to be able to announce that I'm now an MVP again," Skeet announced Friday on …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mutley Medals

    I suspect they had problems with his loyalty. These badges are like Mutley medals, they're handed out by Dick Dastardly to keep Mutley loyal without being anything other than a token of loyalty.

  2. Wallyb132

    Some rust and tarnish is starting to appear...

    If you look closely at the proverbial Do No Evil crown that google wears so proudly, you'll see some rust and tarnish starting to emerge from the cracks that have developed in recent months...

    Google made itself look really bad on this one, considering the MVP tag was well in place 5 years before his appointment to the Mountain View Chocolate Factory....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How can this make Google look bad? They have a code of conduct, which obviously Skeet figured might not permit his MVP goodness, so he asked if it was alright. They said no, then figured out a solution that makes all involved happy.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge


    Nah, I personally would have issues with an employee that's under NDA to another competing company. I wasn't surprised by this. I AM surprised that Google took an intelligent path to correcting it and letting him be an MVP again. I can't see many companies doing that.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    also @Wallyb132

    While I think ANY large company need to be watched quite closely, I agree with the other commentards.

    Also I'm not very impressed with the guy for making a big deal out of this before giving his employer the chance to sort out a compromise, and then going on to suggest that it was him that did all the leg-work.

    Self-publicist or what?

  6. Peter 39

    Sensible outcome

    Google probably ham-fisted the original issue, but it's certainly reasonable to avoid your employees having private/personal NDAs with competitors (depends upon the topic, of course).

    I think this is a clean and sensible outcome. And I think a few managers at Google have had sensitivity training

  7. Kristin McKechie

    Nothing to see here.. move along...

    I operate under similar Codes of Conduct, both with my company and under my membership of the Computer Society... I don't see anything wrong with what Google asked their employee to do - make a choice...

    Every one of us makes choices every day as to which side our bread is buttered on, and if we are then given the opportunity to negotiate a better solution that all parties can live with so much the better - there is no news here

  8. Gordon Ross Silver badge

    Two sides to every story

    Google weren't saying "You can't have this MVP because we don't like Microsoft" They're saying "You can't have this MVP because it puts us and you in a difficult legal situation"

    Google are just trying to prevent accusations of impropriety. I believe google call it "Do no evil"

    Google aren't the only ones to have this type of policy. The Civil Service has similar rules (obviously, they don't apply to MPs)

  9. Jonathan 17


    But its okay for a board member to also serve Apple's board, amidst allegations that early Android phones did not have multi touch at Apple's request? No, not a conflict of interest.

  10. Charles Manning

    Google hamfisted?

    Skeet is the hamfisted one.

    Anyone doing anything worthwhile outside of their 9-5 will often encounter these potential conflicts of interest. The reasonable thing to do is to resolve the matter in private within the company. Most companies I have worked with are reasonable if you're up front about things and I expect Google is too.

    What you should not do is escalate this outside the company. You don't try to resolve things like this in blogosphere.

  11. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Thanks for the Picture

    Not his, El Reg, thanks for not providing a picture of the pencil .... um ... necks in the Google HR Department who equate management with control. Besides, we all know already who their heroes are, how they vote, and how they treat the servants. It's enough.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gene Cash

    Why are you suprised at Google? They are just doing what most other companies would such thing as bad publicity, right? ;)

  13. Doug Glass

    So? What's Your Point?


  14. Jeremy Chappell


    I'm amazed he didn't see the problem himself! He was under an NDA to a competitor, and received benefits from that relationship. HELLO?!

    The fact is he then felt it necessary to blog about the issue! Amazing, I imagine Google must be secretly hopping mad. This guy might be very talented from a technical perspective, but he's still a doofus.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rusting for months? Years, more like.

    Google's been going evil for years now, though they make a show of pretending not to.

    What I don't get is why this merit badge has to be renewed each year. Just so you can show you're still fresh each year, or something? What I also don't understand is why you'd want to have one in the first place, but we can't all be the cool kids, I guess.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Work to live or live to work?

    "When you are in a situation where competing loyalties could cause you to pursue a personal benefit for you or your friends or family at the expense of Google or our users, you may be subject to a conflict of interest. All of us should avoid circumstances that present even the appearance of such a conflict."

    Ok, I understand the logic and I'm sure I would as an employer have concerns about staff working under a NDA of the competition. However, does the above statement sound like it might cause a bit of a conflict of interest itself?

    I know for a fact that when I've worked for companies it’s almost always on a “work to live” basis and my personal career development/life/friends/family etc would normally take precedence.

    I think the issue here is that pursuing such personal loyalties to the detriment of your work or customers would of course be an issue, but I’m not sure that the issue of a conflict of interests is relevant as it covers just about anything we do as people - from the security guard that decides sleeping on the job is more in his interest than patrolling, to the executive planning his early retirement with a £million pension of shareholders money.

    Just to clarify, if I need to visit a sick relative, that would usually take precedence over my work. It would be a conflict of interests (for time) and to the detriment of the company. Yet I believe it would be the right thing to do.

    I think this guys MVP probably falls in to the same category, especially as it’s a qualification he may need should he ever leave Google.

    It sounds to me like the phrase "conflict of interest" is just an open term that is being used to critisise anything the company dislikes.

  17. Mage Silver badge


    He may be a C# expert but no MS program or badge is a real qualification.

    He should not have gone public about it, made him look like a school kid not getting Prefects Badge this term.

  18. Jolyon

    More than MVP

    He's got a book coming out too.

    No MVP -> lower sales perhaps.

    Certainly, fuss over MVP -> great advertising of his expert status.

  19. Paul 37

    What does the badge confer

    What can he do with the badge, that he couldn't do without it ?

    Is it a question of access to various bits of beta software / forums or is it all about status ?

  20. Rob Moir
    Black Helicopters

    Why MVP?

    "What can he do with the badge, that he couldn't do without it ?"

    When I was a MVP I had a lot of access to stuff in Microsoft, and a lot of prestige that translated into offers to write books and magazine articles. And while writing computer books is unlikely to make you rich in itself, that still ultimately translates into profit. I like profiting from my skills. Kinda validates the times in my life I decided to study hard and work hard.

    Even as an ex-MVP I still have a few contacts, some access to advance info on Microsoft stuff and an insight into their behaviour that benefits my employers and with the job situation as it is that doesn't do me any harm either.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    the guy's a tard

    ..of course he shouldn't be under an NDA to Microsoft, who are notoriously fond of using that as a stick to beat developers with, and bully software projects.

    To him, and the commentards who are blithering about how "the rust is beginning to show", well *duh*.

  22. ForthIsNotDead


    Obviously Google AND Microsoft got together to figure something out, to allow a valuable member of the C# community to be appropriately rewarded and recognised.

    Total respect to them for that.

    Whats wrong with you all? You're all such tight miserable gits.

    Listen to yourselves... Fuckin' 'ell guys....

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