My note of apology to Microsoft


These Microsoft rants are starting to get tiring, don’t you think? I feel like every morning brings in another disappointment from my largest partner, and since they don’t seem to be talking about changing or sending me a cease & desist letter I think it’s time I stopped beating this dead horse.

It’s a little bittersweet to be honest, I love Microsoft, they have very impressive workers and processes, I continue to copy them in a number of ways as I grow my company and to be honest, I really would have loved to have a job there in the long, long ago. Today, they are a tired, frustrated, directionless mass of incompetence and if you read their blogs you’re starting to see the frustration build too.

Steve Clayton recently asked on twitter (paraphrasing): “Why does Microsoft get beaten up about every piece of beta software but Google is instantly forgiven?”

On the face of it, poor Steve is seeing a double standard. There is only a slight distinction. Google is a search advertising company with at best a few years of software writing expertise that addresses big pains for free. Microsoft is a 30 year old software enterprise, with talent and history to the beginning of computing time. Microsoft ought to be held to a higher standard. But even when the playing field is leveled, Microsoft is a company that buys solid commercial products, destroys them, puts them through years of alpha, Customer Technology Previews, betas, release candidates and sprinkles in a little bit of pullback and re-release magic. No company should be allowed to slide for taking stable products and destroying them through the process of rebranding, sorry.

You want forgiveness Steve? As a Microsoft partner of 13 years, I have forgiven you for Windows 98. I have forgiven you for ME. I have forgiven you for the ::$DATA dumping raw ASP code into the browser. I have forgiven you for the SQL slammer, Nimda, Code Red. I have forgiven you for deadend products, one after another, stuck in perpetual unstable condition. I have forgiven you losing your focus and starting to compete with me, your partner. I have forgiven you for the unethical treatment of your partners and being generally predatory towards your consumers and partners. I have forgiven you for your licensing.

There comes a time when even I am not able to forgive you, I think you need to address this with a higher power.

Just to make sure that we’re all on the same page here, I do not feel like I am better than Microsoft or that Microsoft owes me anything – believe me, I know who the bitch is. However, the problem with being a street prostitute without a pimp is that when you’re out and about trying to make a dollar and the customer pushes you on all the problems and lack of direction, you have nothing to provide them with. I need Microsoft (as a pimp) far more than Microsoft needs me as a Vista/Server/Office-pushing whore.

Yes, Microsoft is that incompetent. Here, check this out. They gloated about this mega data center push, how they signed up a 70,000 seat Coca Cola customer to Exchange hosting. Look at the email they sent out the other day:


Again, this is not a joke. This is a dead serious official letter sent to the Microsoft customers indicating that they are likely to be out for about 24 hours lights-out total outage. Not to some ancillary vapor bullshit service like Mesh or Grove – but to the entire Microsoft productivity suite that supposedly Microsoft manages for them.

Apple ads are becoming true. Why even bother? Is there any sign, public sign, that anything is getting done? Because makes it seem like things are A-ok. Why am I wasting my time trying to bring this to your attention?

In that light, I want to thank and apologize to Microsoft for my rampant frustration. Last year Steve Ballmer promised me that Microsoft Online will open up a whole new set of opportunities for Microsoft partners. I didn’t know that he meant their incompetence would make me look like a shining star – but thank you, we’re now heading towards double-digit headcount increases on a monthly basis and we’re pushing ahead. Thanks to Microsoft.

I’m going to dedicate more time to working with Microsoft SMB and Microsoft SBSC partners and try to focus on the positives because.. well.. it doesn’t sound like this is helping anyone and until you can come out in a public way and explain to your customers why they should trust you I don’t intend to either.

Rock on.

9 Responses to My note of apology to Microsoft

  1. Greg Smith says:


    I hear you.

    Still, this is clearly a BETA program and you know what? You are not guaranteed functionality, much less 100% uptime in that deal.

    Still, if I was looking to use it, I’d want to see that their systems management procedures have progressed beyone beta…

  2. Brenden says:

    Hah! I’ve never posted before, but I felt the need today. Vlad – keep calling it as you see it. I always enjoy your viewpoint.

    As far as the letter – that is just inexcusable. Someone should be losing their job within Microsoft right about now.

  3. vlad says:


    That is a fair assessment, but it’s an indication of the “Microsoft 2.0 Problem” – Everything is in a beta, perpetually, and when/if released, it’s stripped of its main features.

    They are now trying to apply that same level of lacking credibility to services, where they neither dominate nor excel, and are just pressuring us (their partners) to look at alternatives and to compete – instead of work – with Microsoft.

    That is a net negative for both of us, and it’s a negative for the customer.

    The Microsoft spin is a little bit different. Their take is that because they are competing on services, they are going to make their servers more “hosting friendly”.

    Some of us would just settle for “functuional”

    Pardon me please, this whole new Microsoft 2.0 of shit releases telescopes and Mesh is terribly frustrating to someone that partners with them. They don’t appear to care much in the upper management to address these problems. I for one am tired pretending to be the defender of the crown, Microsoft products may be the best but in the great scheme of things the customer may be better off with the alternatives.

    How’s that from a Microsoft partner bringing in millions of dollars a year in revenue?


  4. Hi Vlad, greetings from Toronto…

    I can hear the fustration in your postings, and I have to admit that even I am looking at Google Apps as a sound solution for a number of my clients that require web services. We just signed up a number of partners (Microsoft) on a google mailing list and email service…

    Gotta go where the money is and what you can bet your reputation on sometimes.

    Stuart Crawford
    Toronto, ON

  5. Stuart,

    While I agree with Vlad that Microsoft is heading down the wrong path, I can’t say that steering my clients into Google would be a better direction.

    Google products are cool, fun and innovative but supported at the business level, no. Good luck getting support when the various Google apps either get pulled or stop working. Google’s Postini going direct to the end consumer with their ‘Enterprise Spam Solutions’ offers ZERO phone support, good luck explaining to your customer that email will be down until you get an email response from who knows who or while you search their online end-user forum for a solution.

    Luckily Microsoft’s misguided steps still leaves us with Windows 2003 and Windows XP both products we know that work and that our clients trust.

    We’ll wait until Google proves it understands support, or until Microsoft first fixes its technical blunders and once they’re corrected then hires a marketing firm that understands how to change public perception. The second statement at this point might require hiring Steve Jobs to right the ship.

    Brian Williams

  6. Susan says:

    In fairness this letter is for a beta.

    Secondly, other cloud based applications have downtime.

    At this time only the business getting major kickbacks and a good deal from MS would be placing their business on a beta platform.

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  9. benb says:

    Windows Home Server data corruption bug, present in RTM since early last fall. Read again, a product that is intended to be a home data server OS, that corrupts the data and has been successfully doing so for over 8 months since release. No solution.

    Yes, the claim to have a *beta* fix on the way sometime in May. Are you kidding?

    After releasing a list of other enhancements and fixes, they also have decided to pull the plug on one of the primary ones because it did not meet the *high bar* of excellence… I suppose like that of the data corruption bug.

    Great set of posts. As a Microsoft developer, partner, customer and proponent for many years – I do not know how anyone can argue with what you have written now and about Microsoft. It would be sad if not so insulting, irritating and absurd as customers keep getting kicked in the groin over and over again.

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