OMG: The Wave Is Huge

January 17, 2006


I’ve now completed my second week of employment at Microsoft – and I haven’t sprung any leaks yet. So what’s been happening?

– I spent my first couple of days in Minneapolis receiving district training. Kelly did a wonderful job making sure that the details of switching to a new company went smoothly. After a few minor bumps, I am in all the HR systems. I have enrolled in all the benefits programs. I have received my insurance cards. I’ve gotten the 401K enrollment taken care of. And I’ve gotten enrolled in the employee stock purchase program.

– I spent a day in the Kansas office getting security tokens and setting up my voicemail and PBX mailbox.

– On day four, I headed out to Seattle. I spent the first two days in Seattle receiving training as an Account Technology Specialist. The ATS Bootcamp was very good. I even got to go through a Meyers-Briggs personality profile (under a differnt label).

– I then spent the last week at a Microsoft technology conference entitled TechReady2 (a readiness seminar on upcoming products). The content was wonderful. Unfortunately, much of the content is protected via non-disclosure agreements.

However, there are some things I can say… First, the wave of change is huge. Indeed, it was this wave of change that inspired me to join Microsoft. Here are some of the elements of that wave of change:

1. The launch of SQL Server 2005 went incredibly well. The new database engine is immensely more scalable and manageable than any previous version of the product. But beyond the blandishments, I can confidently state that MS SQL Server 2005 is a real enterprise competitor. Most corporations can easily consider SQL for the majority of their database needs. And this fact has Oracle scared. Indeed, I believe that one of the reasons for drving deeper into the enterprise application stack is because they recognize the threat that Intel/AMD, Microsoft and the open source databases represent. Well, it’s time to push these products into their rightful place in the enterprise. And the real winners will be our customers.

2. The launch of Visual Studio 2005 represents a huge milestone in the distributed computing environment. While many would argue that “.Net” may need some brand burnishing, few can argue that Microsoft’s original vision for script and DHTML is now overtaking the web. Today, the young programmers call it Web 2.0 and may tout AJAX. But this ignores the fact that this strategy was the heart of DHTML (and even “Hailstorm”). With the latest version of Visual Studio, Windows developers now have a complete platform for connected and disconnected applications.

3. Office 12 is phenomenal. First, the product has everything that has made this product the most successful office product of all times. It includes: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and OneNote. Second, the product team has improved on existing features. Pivot table usage is simple and more powerful. And every product ahs a new look an feel. The new “themes” have a 3-D look that is quite appealing. Third, there are new features that are quite compelling. I love the fact that all documents support user-defined classification. In the Internet era, this is called tagging. And tags are everywhere. Finally, each Office product plays a huge part in the enterprise collaboration framework. When combined with SharePoint, the entire office suite becomes part of a comprehensive organizational content platform. I will write about this in more detail as the products get closer to release. But until then, know that I am really excited about this product.

4. Vista is coming. The December CTP was a huge milestone in many ways. First, it is an excellent preview of what is coming later this year. Second, it is a huge milestone because it represents another step in our efforts to engage the user community in product development and product “fit and finish.”

5. Windows Mobile is starting to roll. Last quarter, Sprint rolled out the PPC 6700. I want this phone! This month, Verizon rolled out the Treo 700W. Both of these phones represent the fundamental truth that our day-to-day computing platform is starting to get smaller and more mobile. In fact, I am writing this entry on my Toshiba M4 tablet PC. This system is a wonderful platform that sits between the traditional laptop and the smaller form factor table devices. There are some things that I love about this system and some things that could be improved. But the realithy is becoming crystal clear: computing is moving to a small and mobile form factor. This transformation is key to the evolution of the next wave of computing power. And Windows Mobile is starting to emerge as a pivotal player in these emerging platforms.

As I look up the face face of this wave of change, my heart is skipping a beat (figuratively, not literally). The changes are awesome. The opportunity for our friends and customers is great. So let’s grab the rail and shoot the pipe!




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