On transparency at Microsoft.

Scott Hanselman has posted up an article about transparency in business. He cites an example of Tivo and some specific issues that he and the Tivo user community are having, but also points out that its a broader issue affecting lots of businesses, including Microsoft – his employer.

The good news is that people like Scott are out there listening, and even if they can’t publically reveal any information about a particular topic, they are probably agitating internally to fix some of those transparency issues.

On the topic of Microsoft I think that there are a few areas where they can give us developers a bit more visibility into what they are thinking, these are some right off the top of my head, yours may vary:

  • In application purchases on Windows Phone 7.
  • Strategy around a replacement for Windows Mobile for enterprise applications (e.g. Logistics)
  • What is the application model going to be for WP7 moving forward, are we going to see a HTML+JS bundle like we have on Windows 8? Great if you do, but let us know!
    • And what does this mean for Silverlight?
  • What about WPF? It is so heavily baked into Visual Studio that it is clearly going to be around for a while. Is it still a preferred platform for heavier engineering style applications for Desktops/Workstations?
  • When are BPOS to Office 365 migrations actually going to happen, its only about 12 months late already (random I know, but this is hurting me right now).
  • When is Dynamics CRM Online going to get federated identity support…

These are all things that developers/consultants can speculate about, and then advise customers, but a roadmap would help reduce risk of reimplementation costs occurring down the track. Somewhere in Microsoft there is a marketing manager taking hints from the Apple playbook around secrecy – but for a company like Microsoft, in the dominant market position that it is in, I don’t think it works.

All that said, I think Microsoft is doing great things with their platform, for such a large organisation they do seem to be pulling in generally the same direction. Not bad for a company that is more like 100 smaller companies with a central payroll department…

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