It's no secret that Microsoft has run into some difficulty getting Vista, a long-awaited Windows update, out the door. Vista (you may remember it as Longhorn) was originally expected to ship way back in 2004.
Now, the company is finally taking some decisive action on the management front by bringing in Microsoft veteran Steve Sinofsky to wrestle Vista into shape. And although Microsoft may say otherwise, it's doubtful that it's sheer coincidence that the move came just a few days after Vista's latest delay.
But can Sinofsky--who has earned a reputation for on-time product delivery in his many years working on Microsoft's other cash-cow product, Office--turn the ship around? Blogger opinions are split. Some say the problems with Microsoft's Windows unit run deep and that one manager--albeit a talented one--won't make that much difference in the short run. A larger fear is that the transition to a new management team could further slow Vista's development.
Blog community response:
"I applaud Microsoft for making structural changes in its Windows divisions--in effect, elevating service apps to the same level of prominence as shrink-wrapped apps--but I'm still skeptical. Replacing one monolithic group with eight smaller groups might seem rational, but it fundamentally feels cutting a large chaise on the Titanic into eight pool chairs. At the same time, the emphasis on one person, Steven Sinofsky, as someone uniquely and innately able to impose discipline on the Windows development process strikes me as surprisingly naive. The troubles in the Windows group are far more structural and technical than personnel-related."
--Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed
"Is Microsoft sacrificing Office 2007 for the sake of Windows Vista? I doubt it. It will certainly chew up some cycles while things settle back to normal, but my honest opinion based on the Office 2007 Beta 1 Technical Refresh, is that the Office 2007 product is in a much better position than Windows Vista at this point in its development. The only thing that I would change on that side of the house is to have a more open beta and to de-couple the Office Client from the Office Server components so that you can be more aggressive with your beta program. So, yeah it will hurt Office a little bit in my opinion, but it is in a much better position to take the hit. Windows however might see even more slippage as things transition."
--Josh's Windows Weblog
"One comes to expect a reorg every year at Microsoft so this one was about due. Steven Sinofsky comes off as a great guy from his blog and the Office product team runs as a pretty tight ship so this can only be good for Windows Live."