Redmond reorg (and Cheney rider)

Welcome to today's IT Blogwatch, in which Microsoft reorganizes, Scoble keeps schtumm, and bloggers smell a rat. Not to mention the Vice President has a rider, just like his rockstar friends...

Your humble blogwatcher apologizes but it's Microsoft yet again today. As Elizabeth Montalbano reports, "Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has reshuffled its Platforms & Services Division, appointing Steve Sinofsky to lead a new group overseeing Windows operating systems and Windows Live ... part of a plan by the vendor to repair what it called a lack of agility and growth ... comes only days after the company said it planned to delay the consumer launch of the new Windows until after this year's holiday shopping season ... [Sinofsky] developed a reputation as a no-nonsense taskmaster during his time at the Office business by consistently meeting deadlines and rolling out new products on a regular schedule."

» Microsoft's "official" blog mouthpiece has been strangely quiet over the past few days [Alex, why's your bruvva MIA?]. So we'll just have to leave it to anonymous Microsoftie Mini-Microsoft to comment: "Holy smokes, start handing out the brown shirts emblazoned with Vienna 2009 on the front and ... or else I'm fired on the back ... I'm especially disappointed that we're not using this as a demonstration of accountability. Show that we're reshuffling to come in to get rid of whatever mismanaged mess there is within the Windows leadership. That would restore confidence ... What the hell is wrong with not only working to fix the problem (thank you) but admitting we're fixing a problem, instead of leaving it in some sort of unsaid, abstract wink to everyone to connect the dots."

» But Ed Bott sees it differently: "The timing of this reorg, less than 48 hours after the official announcement of the schedule slip, says Allchin’s performance rating just slipped ... hard to see it as anything other than a slap in the face ... Ouch. Those are damning indictments of current management. This looks like an actual accountability moment in Redmond. A little more honesty, internally and externally, would help, too. For starters, someone should recall Tuesday’s breathtakingly dishonest press release ... No wonder they delivered the news on a conference call. Even Bagdad Bob would have had a hard time keeping a straight face ... It sounds to me like someone’s trying to deflect the blame for this whole mess. Looks like they didn’t succeed."

» So who is this Sinofsky character? Erick Schonfeld helps out: "a programmer at heart ... understands the Internet ... one of the first people to turn Bill Gates onto the subject. As Gates' personal technical assistant in 1993, Sinofsky bought him a book about the Internet as a Christmas present. That was before Netscape even existed ... Thus it is extremely significant that Sinofsky will also be overseeing Microsoft’s new Windows Live initiative, which is comprised of Web-based software that is available through your browser ... Sinofsky should be able to apply more and more of the perpetual beta approach to the desktop Windows product (or at least parts of it).  The more that your desktop software borrows from other bits of software and data on the Web, the more that the whole  idea of waiting for new versions of software goes away."

» Aussie outlet Smarthouse News has its own deep throat: "Up to 60% of the code in the new consumer version of Microsoft new Vista operating system is set to be rewritten as the Company "scrambles" to fix internal problems a Microsoft insider has confirmed ... Microsoft has pulled programmers from the highly succesful Xbox team to help resolve many problems associated with entertainment and media centre functionality inside the OS."

» Ryan Stewart is simultaneously pessimistic and optimistic [nice trick if you can do it]: "Microsoft is in big trouble. They have spent an immense amount of both time and resources to make Vista as forward-looking and technologically advanced as possible ... In 6-7 years is it really that hard to imagine nearly all of your applications deployed as web apps? I'm not saying that the operating system is dead, but I am saying that you won't need it to do everything it does day and more importantly, Microsoft won't be able to charge $200-$400 for it. In many ways, the "move" to web apps could reopen competition in the OS space for the first time since the 1980s. What starts to differentiate Microsoft from other companies if a lot of what you do is on the web and can be deployed nearly anywhere? The key is the adoption of web apps by the mainstream."

Buffer overflow:

And finally... Dick Cheney's rider or elaborate hoax?

Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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