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March 16, 2007

Some Friday Microsoft amusements

Posted by David Hunter at 10:07 AM ET.

Microsoft: “We’re in it to win!” (with Windows Live):

We can’t disclose a lot of what we saw [or even if we saw anything at all] at the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Global Summit [isn't that a typical Microsoft name?]. However, consistently we heard that Microsoft at all levels are committed to win. Both Steven [not Steve] Sinofsky and Chris Jones were very aggressive about driving that in, regardless of what’s happened in the past.

The Internet industry is such a fast, always changing field that Microsoft’s management is attempting to morph with it. They’ve realized that the first wave of Windows Live was a little rocky, but they’re learning from it for wave 2.

Ideas are going to be well developed inside the company before pushing them out to the public, where confusion can become rampant as we’ve seen. There’s going to be a clear distinction between what’s a Windows Live product and what’s an MSN product, as well as what’s a beta product, or a technical preview product.

Offhand, I’d say that public confusion was purely a reflection of internal Microsoft confusion.

Ballmer calls Google’s growth plans ‘insane’ (video here):

While many investors have knocked Microsoft for not moving as quickly as Google, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested that his chief rival may be trying to grow too fast.

Microsoft took nearly three decades to grow to 75,000 people, while Google has become a very large company in a fraction of that time.

“They are trying to double in a year,” Ballmer told a crowd of Stanford Graduate School of Business students on Thursday. “That’s insane in my opinion.”

But, he added, “it doesn’t mean they won’t do it well.”

There are advantages to the deliberate management structure that Microsoft has put in place, he said, adding that he isn’t sure anyone has proven “that a random collection of people doing their own thing” has created value.

Fair enough point, although a large collection of people led by bureaucrats usually don’t fare much better.

As in the past, he characterized Google as a one-trick pony, playing down the company’s efforts beyond search.

“They do a lot of cute things,” Ballmer said, to huge laughs from the business students.

“We do a lot of cute things too,” he said. “We have a robotics effort.”

Hard cheese for the robotics folks, I guess.

And last but not least, Microsoft: OneCare should not have been rolled out:

Microsoft has said that its OneCare security suite has “a problem” with the underlying antivirus code, and admitted that security is just “a little part of Microsoft”.

Speaking to ZDNet UK exclusively at the CeBIT show in Hanover, a senior manager for the software giant said that its consumer security product is far from perfect and that pieces are actually “missing”.

Skipping the litany of OneCare problems including dining on email, we cut to the chase:

Asked about these problems, Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager, told ZDNet UK on Thursday that the code itself has pieces missing.

“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products. It’s not a bad product, but bits and pieces are missing,” said Edelmann.

The problem lies with a core technology of OneCare, the GeCAD antivirus code, and how it interacts with Microsoft mailservers. According to Edelmann, the Microsoft updates and mailserver infrastructure do not harmonise.

“It’s a problem with the updates, and it’s a problem with the implementation,” said Edelmann.

If mail is received from a server running Exchange 2007, users are unlikely to encounter problems. However, if mail is received from servers running Exchange 2000 or 2003, the likelihood of quarantining is high, said Edelmann.

“OneCare is a new product — they shouldn’t have rolled it out when they did, but they’re fixing the problems now,” said Edelmann.

According to the security manager, security is only a small part of what Microsoft does, suggesting it does not have as much security expertise as established security vendors.

One suspects that Mr. Edelmann is in for quite a tongue lashing when he gets back to HQ.

Filed under Advertising, Coopetition, Executives, General Business, Google, MSN, Microsoft, Online Services, Robotics Studio, Steve Ballmer, Steven Sinofsky, Tools, Windows Live, Windows Live OneCare

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3 Responses to “Some Friday Microsoft amusements”

  1. Bob Says:

    “Offhand, I’d say that public confusion was purely a reflection of internal Microsoft confusion.”

    Agree completely, but apparently blaming it on customers is easier than gaining some self-awareness.

    “Fair enough point, although a large collection of people led by bureaucrats don’t fare much better.”


  2. Microsoft now does business phone systems -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] In addition, the team operated like a small startup company, allowing it to understand the needs of small businesses, said Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman, speaking on the video at the summit. “What they found is that what small businesses need is the ability to simplify the steps it takes to accomplish every day tasks,” he said. One example of how Response Point addresses that is the speech recognition feature, he said. Aside from Steve Ballmer possibly considering this insane, one can’t help but wonder if this kind of “skunk works” is the hallmark of an organization grown too large. Remember IBM and how they had to develop the IBM PC? [...]

  3. OneCare 2.0 beta released sans antivirus beef -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] All these added features are swell and adding utility bling is not uncommon in the security software biz, but the original and primary reason to buy OneCare was as an inexpensive antivirus solution. Unfortunately, OneCare wasn’t very good at it and has earned a less than satisfactory reputation with one Microsoft executive even stating in a candid moment that it shouldn’t have been shipped. [...]

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