Microsoft set to roll out 'longer twitch' products

Microsoft set to roll out 'longer twitch' products

Summary: A week after debuting its plan for iterating software products and services (Windows and Office Live) on a "fast twitch" cycle, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will roll out the long twitch cycle products--Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006--tomorrow in San Francisco.  To remind those of you unfamiliar with the notion to twitch cycles, here's how Ballmer explained Microsoft's product development strategy during an interview at Gartner's Symposium ITxpo last month.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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ballmergartner.jpgA week after debuting its plan for iterating software products and services (Windows and Office Live) on a "fast twitch" cycle, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will roll out the long twitch cycle products--Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006--tomorrow in San Francisco.  To remind those of you unfamiliar with the notion to twitch cycles, here's how Ballmer explained Microsoft's product development strategy during an interview at Gartner's Symposium ITxpo last month.

"The important thing we are focused in on across Microsoft is how through a combination of both product and through services that talk to those products—Internet-based services—all of our major businesses can have a short twitch capability–call that every six or nine months–a medium twitch capability and at same time we can’t stop doing the R&D that takes every three or four years to get done. We just can’t make our customers wait three or four years for things that should have been on more interim cycles. We try to orchestrate ourselves, so  that we have innovations coming on all three of those cycle paths."

The twitch cycles also represent different aspects of Microsoft's business that are core to the company's financial future. The fast twitch is about mastering the Web as a platform, competing with Google, Yahoo and other Web purists. The medium twitch is the battle for knowledge worker revenue--the Office productivity software, some of the servers (e.g., SharePoint, Exchange) and other business applications for the desktop and hosted services. The long twitch is Windows/Vista/Longhorn and other major undertakings that carry the Microsoft legacy code forward.

Each twitch cadence has different sets of challenges and opportunities. Tryng to coordinate the fast twitch with Windows and server releases will leave Microsoft behind the Web purists. Tying all productivity software to the desktop Office suite ignores new market opportunities. Overtime time as Web computing grows, the Windows OS become less critical or differentiated in users' minds no matter how much Microsoft spends on marketing. Hence, Microsoft's latest announcement of Windows Live and Windows Office, which don't necessarily require the Windows OS, to extend the Windows brand into a new realm. The notion of a desktop is changing.

Infrastructure and tools like Visual Studio, SQL Server and BizTalk Server, are critical for monetizing Microsoft's Windows and Web platforms, and maintaining developer loyalty. It's a very big deal and business opportunity for Microsoft versus IBM, Sun and the open source players.  

The most recent Gillmor Gang podcast with the usual cast (including myself) and guest Microsoft evangelist blogger Robert Scoble zeroes in on Windows and Office Live and whether the company's twitching will result in a successful (r)evolution of the 30-year-old software behemoth.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • Let's talk about twitching

    I'm twitching, too. It's an eye twitch, and it often happens when I read about yet another on-demand poser entering the market.

    The concept of on-demand software is a popular one. Companies often try to align themselves with popular, innovative messages, regardless of the accuracy of that alignment, and on-demand has attracted its share of posers.

    Some companies (I won't mention who) claim to produce on-demand applications, but are in truth producing web-adapted applications. Web-adapted applications are cobbled-together, retrofitted versions of client-server software. They're slow, clunky, and inflexible, with much of the activity occuring behind the customer's firewall rather than on the internet.

    Applications that aren't wholly web-based, and build from the ground up for the web, can't offer the same kind of cost, time, and risk advantages as a web-native application, because more cost, time and risk are generated through the use of traditional methods. Web-adapted applications like Microsoft's latest intended offering inevitably pass those extra costs on to the customer.

    It'll be interesting to benchmark Microsoft's on-demand products against more established on-demand providers such as salesforce.com and expensewatch.com.
    PuzzlePiece
  • That hand will destroy your soul

    TIGER HAND! RAWR!!!!! RAWRR! rar. Hahaaa, hi. Tiger Hand. Come on! You Know! ... You don't know Tiger Hand? Tiger Hand beats paper. Like totally beats paper. Always
    voice_of_all_reason
  • M$ STILL TRYING TO CREATE PERPUTUAL INCOME FROM SUBSCRIPT. SERVICES

    THEY'RE NOT GOING TO EVER GIVE UP untill we are all paying hundreds of dollars a year to use all of the programs they produce. that is their business model of the future, like Austrailia. the promise of updates not having to be obtained by waiting for new versions of their software released every several years is the "CARROT" they are holding infront of us. if they can win corporte concerns to this model, then it will be forced upon all consumers; at least this is the way i read this article!!
    iconoclastt
  • If they release twice as often do we pay half as much?

    Didn't think so...

    This is just the ol d"subscription" thing in disguise. They won't stop until they get a monthly direct debit from your account.
    jinko
  • Hmmm?

    I'm beginning to wonder with all this vapor speak from MS and others of that ilk whether this really is just a matter of a "dead hand reaching out of the grave into our pockets?"

    They've proven their products have reached a maturation level that can no longer be sustained simply by enforcing upgrades as has been done 'til now. So MS has realized and finally accepted that since their attempt at shifting the licensing model, many of us (and not just a fringe handful) are quite content in using whatever we started out with. We don't need the "latest" or new toys from them. Most of us are quite productive using our PC's software which we have now but don't really use to the fullest extent as yet, if ever. By introducing the "software as a service", MS can deliver what it wants, when it wants, at what cost it wants, using whatever technology it wants and to be able to take it all away whenever it wants. So where is our individual or corporate control in this model?

    In my eyes this is nothing more than "re-branding" for the short term rather than a strategic shift by MS. Their sacred cow is their boxed Office products and they're truly not prepared to give this up yet. They are also facing very stiff competition for the Open Source community vis a vis Google and Yahoo and so forth. While their products are still "closed" to the IT community no matter how they sell it, now they only way they can dream to compete is to control by shear volume the direction of the internet and web. This short term model may give them the time they need to come up with schemas to do it. Or so they think.
    Sheeva