Over on ZDNet Joe McKendrick asks Is Microsoft slow to the punch on SOA, or just waiting for the right moment? The answer is neither. Microsoft is clueless about SOA (service oriented architecture) and seems intent to remain so.
Microsoft can't seem to figure out what it wants to be anymore. In this day and age the company simply can't be all things to all people. It's clear that after the Yahoo fiasco, the focus is on the business "user" and the consumer. There has been very little in the last year or two that suggest Microsoft is taking the enterprise seriously anymore. Even all the noise about Linux has stopped.
Fundamentally I think the Microsoft SOA challenge is due to the fact that most SOA environments are multi-vendor. Even when Oracle is giving away components and trying to shove a whole stack down your throat they realize that interoperability is key to success. Microsoft has *never* embraced interop at full-scale. If they had, the market would be very different right now and arguably Microsoft would have an even bigger footprint.
Joe makes a point below that Microsoft will likely attempt to go bottom-up with SOA as it's still too large of an undertaking.
Microsoft typically hasn't gone head-to-head against large enterprise vendors, especially with SOA. And my guess is that Microsoft doesn't even want to attempt to try to take away or eat into IBM or BEA/Oracle's huge SOA engagements. It's not worth it -- at least not yet. Instead, Microsoft intends to move into underserved and long-ignored markets with commodity-priced tools and work their way up from there.
I agree to the extent that the opportunities will still be there for Microsoft once these initial deployments are done. One of the main reasons I still work like a dog is because consumption equals deployment in 99.9% of our use cases with Mule. The odds of another vendor pushing out existing infrastructure is very low and Microsoft is missing the boat.