As you may have noticed I've not been around much lately, that being said, I always like to keep up with developments on my favourite site. Though I may not be posting, I am
I've spent the past year working all too closely with Microsoft (a lot of the reason I am not here) and in my opinion (as subjective as it may be) they are a changed company, putting putting greens, 'Micrototty' and free food aside. In recent times my primary focus has been on the Sybari and Whale acquisitions, but from spending significant time both with 'historic' employees and those who are in it for the acquisition ride, I've begun to see things differently. Recently Microsoft employees have been able to publicly criticise Microsoft history, policy, and influence it. Frankly some of the recent 'Anti-Microsoft' Microsoft, at Microsoft, presentations have had me on the floor laughing. In the past those responsible would have been lined up against a wall and shot, but now things are different. Welcome to Microsoft's Orange Revolution. It seems Microsoft have finally been able to understand the value and implication of having positive, driven, up and coming individuals with something to prove. Microsoft have not before time, ultimately understood the cutting edge to compete. If you've ever worn Oakley sunglasses, worn TNF clothing or relied on 'Five Ten' footware you will understand that the key to competing at all is having those who ideologically believe in what they are trying to achieve pushing the restraints of their employers for the good of everyone. They are finally looking back, recognising where they have made mistakes, why they were made and ultimately addressing them as they move into the future. That's the thing, Microsoft have finally realised that they can be negative about something which ultimately leads to an end result that makes a positive outcome for everyone, profits included. And not before time.
Years of security woes and growing competition from the likes of Google have meant Microsoft has been forced to adapt. Rather than trying to play catch-up with some of the new technological innovations out there, they would rather buy into best of breed companies in any given area and shape the technology for mass market adoption. Of course, they are not just doing this to get hold of the technology, much more important to them are the people whom they wish to retain at all costs so they are given a very free reign to continue innovating.
Depending where you are in the world, the current Honda advertising applies: Hate something, change something, make something better. Damned annoying tune, but very fitting for what 'Mickeysoft' are also trying to achieve.
I am certain that if advancing frontiers are not the objective, many of those idealistic employees would leave tomorrow. I believe security sparked a significant rethink for Microsoft back in 2001-2002 which finally is starting to benefit us all, security related or otherwise. Let me assure you that the 'new Microsoft' I've encountered are an incredibly resolute, astute, independently thinking entity. Realistically they now have to be to compete in the current marketplace - endless revisions of Office and Windows are no way to guarantee marketshare long-term. MS have realised that they have to branch out and provide a full range of solutions or risk becoming obsolete.
Forget Vista woes as a view of Microsoft as a company, that reality is long past, despite many best intentions to get Vista back on track the direction the product took early on meant it is a lumbering beast and the project will continue to be until release. That isn't the case for most current MS projects or those of their subsidiaries. Frankly I'll be first to point out that Microsoft are still making a lot of mistakes and are still playing catch-up in many areas (MSPod anyone?) but as far as PC systems and application software are concerned, Microsoft appears to have found a new vision. You can see the shift in thinking in Office 2007. For many years each Office revision was pretty much identical to the last, but perhaps with a new coat of paint on the toolbar. The radical rethink in how Office 2007 operates is a direct reflection of what is happening within MS as a company.
Personally I wouldn't worry too much about the Winternals acquisition, frankly if anything I believe it will make the 'elite' offerings from Winternals more accessible to the common user (if you are are current Winternals customer as I am, you can testify to the dongle and downloading nightmare their products have become
). Why do I think things will be more accessible? Well, for starters, any company with a Select agreement in time is likely to receive and be able to evaluate the Winternals products (in some form or another) and purchase at a reduced cost without an annoying piece of plastic to plug into a USB port, plus they can avoid the convoluted reseller channels and confusion that comes with them. Beyond that any technology of value will ultimately make it into Windows Emergency Recovery Console (ERD Commander, Remote Recover), Windows itself (Defrag Manager, Crash Analyzer Wizard) and existing systems such as SMS and MOM (Insight for AD, Protection Manager).
Ultimately this will be a blow to the reseller layer rather than to the end user. I would think that Microsoft will allow the 'pet' Sysinternals project will continue to run for as long as the current Winternals people consider it useful, plus Sysinternals probably does make Winternals quite a bit of money as you do have to site license a lot of the software (e.g. BgInfo) if you wish to roll it out effectively in the Enterprise.
Consider this, does Microsoft want to take useful tools for managing Microsoft products away from you, and if so why? If not, what would they gain from the very same tools becoming mainstream? I'll give you a little clue... In my opinion this has a lot to do with how Microsoft wishes to play the game against VMWare, et al in the emerging utility computing markets. Effective systems management will play a big part in this. This I'll perhaps go into detail about at some point. For now the end user cannot lose.
Whist we are here I'd like to point you to the seemingly unnoticed Softricity acquisition, announced on the same day as the Winternals one http://www.microsoft...-17SoftricityPR.mspx
. I'd be willing to bet that this has more impact on your day to day life within the next 5 years (or 2 years for any forward thinking Enterprise) than the Winternals products ever had and in many respects in time if developed to its ultimate conclusion should do away with the need for a lot of the tools Winternals currently provide. Let me be first to conjecture that this can only be positive for all of us.
Thank you for your consideration during my stereotypical rant.
SentinelEdit: Big fat update