Microsofts Sorry Record

By David Morgenstern  |  Posted 2004-10-24 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, on the Microsoft front, CEO Steve Ballmer addressed a large audience of IT professionals at last weeks in Orlando, Fla., about security concerns about the Windows platform as well as the companys plans for its next-generation client and server version of Windows, called Longhorn. He said a "Longhorn wave" is headed our way, with some parts arriving sooner and others later. And others even much later. Click here to read more about Ballmers Gartner keynote.
A year ago at Microsofts Professional Developers Conference, company officials detailed the many new features—some 700 or more—due for Longhorn and reaffirmed its schedule, albeit years in the future. Developers were handed a CD with a technical preview.
That plan became hash over the course of the next 12 months, and the entire project was reorganized to become a "wave" rollout rather than the previous tsunami strategy. Rather than acknowledging a development and marketing failure, Ballmer would have us believe that this change (what some call "Shorthorn") is a good thing. And thats likely so given the raw state of the components. To be honest, Microsoft should find a new name for its upcoming releases of Windows, since "Longhorn" is now a misnomer. The Longhorn project has had so many facelifts over the past year or two, its difficult to recognize. Also evident at the Gartner event was the confidence gap between customer expectations on security and the marketing messages delivered by Microsoft executives. "Weve learned more about security than anyone else in the world," Ballmer said at ITxpo last week. "We need to focus in on a few things. We need to engineer in fewer vulnerabilities going forward. We have new development tools to spot security vulnerabilities. We will release those to users." A "few" things? Who is Ballmer kidding? Nobody. "Trust is not a word that I would use" in relation to Microsofts promises on security, one developer said following the keynote address, adding that she had no reason to trust Microsoft because it "hasnt delivered anything to date" to improve the condition of security. The condition of Windows security is a joke, or it would be one if the issue didnt cost every user on the Internet and impact the workflow of every IT manager in large and small enterprises every single day. Or as revealed last week, cause PC makers to try to improve things on their own with a third-party security software bundle. So, how can these companies regain our trust? Simple: Tell us what will be done and when. And then do it. Of course, thats the toughest part. Check out eWEEK.coms Desktop & Notebook Center at for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

David Morgenstern is Executive Editor/Special Projects of eWEEK. Previously, he served as the news editor of Ziff Davis Internet and editor for Ziff Davis' Storage Supersite.

In 'the days,' he was an award-winning editor with the heralded MacWEEK newsweekly as well as eMediaweekly, a trade publication for managers of professional digital content creation.

David has also worked on the vendor side of the industry, including companies offering professional displays and color-calibration technology, and Internet video.

He can be reached here.


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