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BrustBlog Pontifications on Microsoft and the Tech Industry

Something’s probably a little screwy with me.  I’ve chosen tonight, my first night of vacation, to try and get back to posting here.  No matter, whatever it takes, it takes.

Honestly, I am still convalescing.  About 2 months ago I finally finished work on Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2005, the book I’ve been working on with Stephen Forte, and nine other people too.  If you include the index, the book comes in at a hefty 900+ pages, and it still feels like we just scratched the surface of the product.

Our book was really, really late.  We should have released it in conjunction with the product itself.  Shame on us; I won’t bore you with the reasons why it took so long.  Except one: the product itself was late.  Want a fun factoid that illustrates this well?  We signed the contract for the book with Microsoft Press right around the time of the Yukon Technical Preview conference in Bellevue, in February 2003.  Yes, you read that right.  From the Tech Preview Conference, when the first alpha/preview bits were released in the form of VMWare images (Microsoft hadn’t yet acquired Virtual PC from Connectix!), to product release was almost three years.  Our book merely took another six months to finish and an additional month to hit availability on Amazon.

It’s not just SQL Server 2005 of course; Vista and Office 2007 are massively delayed too.  And what about “Longhorn” Server?  What about IE7, which went into Beta a year ago?  And when will Exchange 2007 really ship?

What’s going on in Redmond?  Clearly, I am not the first to observe this problem or ask this question.  But it bears asking nonetheless.  Forget all this talk about “innovation.”  I prefer to focus on simple “organization” and “dedication.”  What will it take for folks at Microsoft to get some hustle in them?  To feel the panic of a deadline?  To pull an occasional all-nighter?

Maybe I’m just bitter.  During the last three months of working on the book, I worked every day of the week, save for maybe four days off.  I closed deals at the office, I spoke at conferences, I wrote, I edited, and I answered hundreds email of messages a day.  I’m guessing many other software book authors go through the same thing.

As shareholders, as business partners, as platform advocates and as colleagues, we need everyone at Microsoft to do the same.  If the Zune is to succeed, if the XBox platform is to continue its upward climb, and if the Windows Server stack is to complete it ascension not just to serious contender, but to a ubiquitous no-excuses platform for the corporate IT world, Microsoft needs to bear down and push.

I'm not pushing again until next week though.  Now, back to vacation.

Posted on Saturday, July 29, 2006 10:59 PM | Back to top


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