More questions for BillG

HREF="/frankarr/archive/2004/06/24/165633.aspx">Further to
my earlier post about questions to ask BillG, I got a terrific question

"If Microsoft wish to continue to have partners in the industry, they
need to leave room for the partners to make a living as well. With MBS,
Microsoft is now directly competing with many of their partners (or former
partners), particularly ISV's.

ISV's need to feel secure that if they develop an area of software,
they won't have it invaded by their own partner if it becomes

If Microsoft's partners end up with no room to make their own income,
won't they move to partner with other platform vendors that do leave them that
room? Also, aren't partners then less likely to trust Microsoft's intentions
in joint marketing efforts?"

That's a beauty! A few months back we had a visit by href="">Satya
Nadella, who is the Vice President for Microsoft Business Solutions
Group. He was asked the same question and his answer was pretty cool. The
basic gist of the response was that Microsoft can't do every horizontal &
vertical solution and this is where ISVs are so important. The ISVs have the
domain knowledge for a particular industry. What MBS is trying to do is provide
consistent plumbing layer for ISVs to innovate. There is a good discussion on
this topic over at href="">Directions
On Microsoft.

BTW, I used to work with Satya many many years ago. His office was across the
corridor from me while I was in the href="">Interactive
TV group. Ah, those were the days.

[Now Playing: Fatboy Slim - Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars - Demons (06:53)]

Comments (6)
  1. Ah, Frank – indeed, Microsoft cannot do every horizontal and vertical solution. They can, however, do the very profitable ones. The problem is that if you are only squeaking out a living, then Microsoft will not invade a partner’s space. If, however, the area is extremely profitable, Microsoft has shown no qualms about stepping on their ‘partners’.

  2. Rod says:

    Hi Frank,

    Question for Bill for you.

    How will MS solve the internal trade off between the Longhorn and Office teams. Anyone goaled on Longhorn will want a Longhorn optimized version of Office to pull through Longhorn sales. The Office team will want to support the widest possible base.

    My own feeling is that Word especially is done and that MS needs to do a totally new version with clear separation between data and format so that Word can be used to author once and repurpose text easily from documents to web to applications etc.

  3. Chris says:

    I hope you don’t believe this nonsense yourself. Continue reading here:

  4. Chris says:


    "Throughout the first half of 2003, we heard rumors about it.

    In early September 2003, we got confirmation from Microsoft. Believe me, I was angry. I ranted and I vented. I used a few words my mother taught me not to use.

    The scene of this announcement was weird. It was an NDA’d meeting of the VSIP program. All of the attendees were vendors of components or developers tools which integrate with Visual Studio. Standing in front of dozens of their so-called "partners", Microsoft staff put smiles on their faces and announced that they will be competing with almost all of us.

    There was a lot of emotion in that room. Every VSIP vendor had worked very hard to be a part of Microsoft’s "ecosystem" for Visual Studio, only to end up feeling very betrayed. If this is how Microsoft treats its partners, how do they treat their enemies?"

  5. > and his answer was pretty cool

    I did not find his answer any cool at all. What basically said was that MS will actually limit the revenue of ISV’s by taking the best and most profitable piece of the pie, offering a layer that most ISV already have, leaving them the hard customization that has no added value for any company.

    No matter how many times Ballmer will say ‘Developers’ or Scoble ISV’s, in the future (that MS is planning), we will have only two choices, either be users or working for MS.

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