I just finished reading Steve Gillmor's latest proclamation that Office is still, in fact, Dead. Not much new in his latest rant except the revelation that he thinks dropping Outlook from the new Home edition of Office is a good idea (and, not coincidentally, one he suggested some time ago). The whole Office is Dead riff is starting to sound a lot like Chevy Chase's old SNL bit about General Franco. Yup... still dead.
No... what was most interesting about his post was what was waiting to be found in a CRN article he linked to in his post. He praised (or was that damned with faint praise?) Barbara Darrow with getting a quote from "the brain trust" regarding the reasoning behind dropping Outlook having to do with the general ubiquity of web mail clients for home users. But that's not what was so interesting about Darrow's article.
I'm not sure if Steve read page two of the article. Maybe he was in a rush to get back to reruns of "That's So Raven" with his daughter Ella so he could count feet (go read his post - it's too hard to explain). Buried on page two are some telling quotes from Microsoft partners who spoke with Darrow only with the assurance that they would not be named.
Now there's a long and, up until recently, time-honored tradition of protecting sources in journalism. We've all come to expect the unnamed source as a thematic component of the latest intrigue coming out of Washington or Wall Street. But what I've been seeing more frequently is the same thing happening in articles about those software companies larger than most third world countries (it's a short list but if you need a clue their names begin with the letters C, M, O, and S). In Darrow's article there are two - count them two - sources who requested anonymity before speaking their mind about the state of affairs with Office.
Quote number one:
"There's still a lot of shelfware out there. We expect Microsoft to launch aggressive plans to work with channel partners to finally move people off aged versions of Windows and Office," said one longtime large-account reseller, who requested anonymity.
And quote number two discussing the migration of the Content Management Server "into the Office/Information Worker conclave":
One East Coast Microsoft partner executive, who asked not to be named, applauded that move. "The merger of SPS/CMS is something that partners have been clamoring for. Hooray,” he said. “We finally have a solution that can not only handle document creation and production--via productivity tools and SharePoint collaboration--but also a way to control the flow of information in a publishing environment."
Am I missing something? Do either of these quotes sound like something that requires "unnamed source" status? Does Microsoft have ninja assassin squads tracking down errant resellers and "disappearing them" if they say patently obvious things like Office 2003 didn't end up rocking the house or it's good that content management and collaboration now reside in the same business unit... er, "conclave"?*
Seems pretty obvious to me.
*Edit: I've added quotes around the word "conclave" as it was used by Steve in his post. I thought it was pretty funny. A commenter apparently took umbrage at the term. No disrespect intended.