Michael Vizard is picking up a major theme we have been arguing – that Microsoft does not deserve the loyalty of often bullied “partner” ISVs. Look at countless sectors of the software market that Microsoft is attacking often with all guns blazing:
1)buyout of one or more key players in a market;
2)establish key links to Redmonds new software with OS, Web and Office services that are not available to 3rd party “partners”;
3)reduce or eliminate joint marketing programs;
4)reduce prices and/or bundle in a fashion that their erstwhile “partners” cannot match in a market.
This has been what Redmond has been serving up in ever larger doses to partners as diverse as OS utility and security ISVs, business application ISVs, content management vendors, Visual Studio support and extensions ISVs, Business Intelligence vendors among others. Steve Ballmers hue and cry for “developers, developers, developers” sounds more like “vassals, serfs, slaves for the Redmond Press Galleys”. Come on board and we shall treat you to promises, promises, promises but the reality is not much above whipping boys for Redmonds voracious need for revenues.
But Michael is describing nothing less than a revolt – the revolution is on as erstwhile Microsoft ISV partners whose hard working applications are their coin of the realm. Those ISVs are looking well beyond .NET and Windows Vista/Server 2007. They are starting to package themselves with Open Source Linux, databases, and application servers to give themselves relief from Microsoft price cuts, greater interoperability than Redmond, plus better security, reliability and price performance. No wonder Bill has retired.
Who is going to clean up this mess ? Certainly not Steve – he is utterly discredited in the eyes of ISVs large and small. Craig Mundie or Ray Ozzie – these are Tweedledum and Tweedledee Jim Allchin clones. In sum, for the next year or two, Microsoft has Major Major Major Catch 22 management problems. I can see their ISVs wishing Redmond Rots of Ruck.