Microsoft 2007: Overkill?
- By Carolyn April
Staring at the keyboard today pondering my first newsletter report for Redmond
magazine, I started thinking about the Vista and Office 2007 business launches
of last week. (Full disclosure: I didn’t attend the New York event in
person, but I did watch the Webcast live.)
While many of the demos by third-party partners sparkled with undeniable technical
ingenuity and enthusiasm by its participants, the rest of the Microsoft presentation
was decidedly underwhelming. At times, I was reminded of those balloon-filled
yet people-empty ballrooms where Republican losers made their concession speeches
on election night. My Redmond magzine colleagues who did have a seat
in the crowded Nasdaq conference room didn’t lay a you-had-to-be-there-to-see-it
on me either. To them, it was just as low-key in person.
That said, I told myself that Microsoft must be saving the big party for January’s
consumer launch. At least, I hope so. After five years’ worth of development
fits and starts and endless media scrutiny, you would think the coming-out party
would generate some fist-pumping and back-slapping, if not relief, by Microsoft’s
marketing machine. (To be fair, Steve Ballmer opened his remarks last week emphasizing
the word “finally” when announcing the products’ availability
to corporate users). Hindsight being what it is, launching first to consumers
would have been the wisest move of all, but I suspect Microsoft realizes this.
One revelation at the event really piqued my interest, however. Ballmer said
that Microsoft -- on the backs of flagships Vista and Office 2007 -- will birth
more than 30 new products by the end of next year. No wonder the executives
at the launch in November seemed tired.
We all knew 2007 would be a watershed year for Microsoft products. But 30-plus?
I decided to check out the press materials on Microsoft.com to see exactly what
we are talking about here. It’s a dizzying list. In addition to the nearly
20 client and server products that are upgrades (everything from Office Visio
Professional 2007 to System Center Configuration Manager 2007), Microsoft lists
this cavalcade of brand-new products: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for
Software Assurance, Office Project Portfolio Server 2007, Office Forms Server
2007, Office SharePoint Designer 2007, Office Communication Server 2007, Voice
CAL for Office Communication Server 2007, Office PerformancePoint Server 2007...and,
well, the list goes on. To see it in its full glory, go here.
Anyway, my question for you fine readers is this: Is this overkill?
If, when, and how do you plan to incorporate all or some of the products associated
with Vista into your environments (not to mention third-party applications that
will also be rolling along)? What kind of training curve is ahead of you and
how good of a job is Microsoft doing helping you to get ready?
Is your head spinning? When it stops I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn April is the executive editor of features for Redmond magazine.