Microsoft's sliding ship date headache

Microsoft's sliding ship date headache

Summary: Microsoft's heavyweight championship software, like the prodigious Office suite, doesn't lend itself to predictable ship dates. Today, Microsoft spilled out that Office 2007--originally slated for release in October, and then January to coincide with Vista's ship date--would now ship in "early 2007.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Microsoft's heavyweight championship software, like the prodigious Office suite, doesn't lend itself to predictable ship dates. Today, Microsoft spilled out that Office 2007--originally slated for release in October, and then January to coincide with Vista's ship date--would now ship in "early 2007." The culprit, according to Ina Fried's story, is performance issues:

"Based on internal testing and the beta 2 feedback around product performance, we are revising our development schedule to deliver the 2007 system release by the end of year 2006, with broad general availability in early 2007," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mail. "Feedback on quality and performance will ultimately determine the exact dates." 

Microsoft's elephantine software is just not that predictable, with its with millions of lines of codes, thousands of test configurations and need to fit into a PC with at least an 800 MHz processor, 512MB of memory, a 20GB hard drive with 15GB of free space and a CD-ROM drive.

Microsoft will continue to get beat up by the media, investors and users for its date slipping problems. But, shipping software before its time is the ultimate recipe for disaster. Being transparent and keeping the constituencies that care in the loop will at least help dilute some of the frustrations brewing outside of Redmond. In the meantime, those who's frustration has peaked waiting for a new Office can check out the many alternatives, such as OpenOffice.org for a full featured Office competitor and the wide variety of Web-based applications that are sprouting like weeds. 

Topic: Microsoft

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  • When was the last time they released on time OR

    released something complete>?

    Gee, I can't remember... I do remember that nearly everytime they have released something new its been bigger and more of a resource hog, bloatware anyone.

    I still can't understand why WinXP bloated by three times the size of Win2k, or why WinXP with Office XP fully patched now takes up over 4 gigs, has the office world changed so much that we need 2 gigs for it? Word has it that Office 2007, following the lead of its predessors will now come on DVD like Vista and has grown another full gig and a half from office XP, what gives?

    It would be nice for a change that when M$ releases an office suite for 500 bucks it would be on time, work, and not be full of holes or need patching outta the box. Unfortunately this will never happen, M$ software waist line seems to be following their bottom line, it just gets bigger.

    I think its time for M$ to go on a long diet, fire most of its R&D team, and start releasing quality software on time thats not fat in both price and space.

    Oh well, we can hope anyways right?
    warezdog
  • Who Cares?! Just continue using MS Office 2003, or any older version!!!

    Who cares about getting the new bloated overly expensive version of Microsoft Office 2007? Other than new computer users who don't have any "office" software, the only people who would want MS Office 2007 are the idiot geeks who got to have the latest version of software. Just continue using Microsoft Office 2003 or whatever older version of Microsoft Office that you have. Or go use OpenOffice if want almost-Microsoft quality with a few formatting quirks that you probably won't notice unless if you have a heavily-formatted document that was originally created with Microsoft Office.
    rh0
  • Sawing logs

    And this matters -- how?

    In the meantime they still collect the Microsoft Tax on PC sales, they still collect on their Enterprise Software Assurance contracts, they still sell boxed sets of MSOffice-du-jour to small businesses and individuals.

    In other words, business as usual. There isn't going to be a chorus of angels descending in Glory when MSOffice-next ships. The world will wake up the next day and do pretty much the same things they did the day before -- even in ITville.

    It's a non-story.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • 1/2 their success

    "But, shipping software before its time is the ultimate recipe for
    disaster."

    I'd thought that was half of the MS recipe for success. The other
    half was talking about upcoming products years before they
    exist ;-)
    Richard Flude
    • Out of proportion

      [i]I'd thought that was half of the MS recipe for success. The other half was talking about upcoming products years before they exist ;-)[/i]

      You have the proportions wrong, and you left out "talking about upcoming products that never will ship, but keep people from buying real products from other vendors."
      Yagotta B. Kidding
  • I used to think release often was a good policy

    But Extreme Programming techniques can only go so far.
    I now think that the traditional specify your design, specify testing, implement and test using the good old ways is best.
    Proof of concept and quick designs are probably more suited to Extreme Programming (like where business process is changing a lot).
    But for big software projects, I think the old ways are the only way.
    The product upgrade that Microsoft are shipping here is a giant product, and needs to be stable, good enough to convince people to upgrade, and needs to provide enough profit to fund the next generation and so on.
    It doesn't really matter to people if it's late. If it's a fantastic product when it arrives, then people will buy it.
    Office 2003 is a great product. Sure I wouldn't buy it for home, I'd get OpenOffice. But for business, I'd choose Microsoft office.
    stevey_d
    • You're not gettin' it, Stevey...

      Release often *is* best. Doing too much in a release is precisely why M$ can't deliver this behemoth on time. A few small changes at a time prevent the issue you're seeing here. But...that model would disrupt their ability to generate revenue off it. They'd rather have larger changes that can be touted as a whole new version and charge exorbitantly for. Now you understanding?
      Techboy_z
    • Good Enough for Dear Old Dad

      [i]I now think that the traditional specify your design, specify testing, implement and test using the good old ways is best.[/i]

      It might not be "best," but it's certainly a good way to develop and worlds better than the "code first, ship, then let third parties reverse-engineer the documentation" approach that Microsoft uses.
      Yagotta B. Kidding