In a post entitled When will Scoble earn his Longhorn pay? Robert Scoble writes

The thing is that I don't have any credibility left when it comes to Longhorn. Over the last 18 months I got out there and lead lots of Longhorn cheers. And now there's a changing of direction.

Tons of people, both inside and outside of Microsoft, have been talking with me about where we're going now. I've met in the past week with the Avalon and WinFS teams (yes, they both still exist).

The thing is, I am super sensitive right now to making a whole new round of promises. I'd rather wait to talk until there's beta build to hand you. Why? Cause what good does it do to write about the feature set if you can't see it? And if you're a developer, you don't want to hear FUD, you wanna see working APIs.

Shortly after Robert joined Microsoft I sent him a link to Joel Spolsky's Mouth Wide Shut article because I thought he was going overboard in pimping Longhorn. Experience working with product teams at Microsoft had already thought me that until a technology is in beta almost everything about it can change. For example, the plans my team had for what we were shipping in Whidbey two years ago are very different from what we planned to ship a year ago which is very different plan to ship today. Features gets cut all the time, priorities change and then there's the date driven release dance.

Microsoft has always had a credibility problem due to what people have termed vaporware announcements. Although many have assumed that the company does this maliciously the truth of the matter is that a lot of these incidents are product teams prematurely announcing their plans to the world. Personally I think Microsoft's evangelists and marketing folks could do the company, our customers and the software industry in general a service by shutting the hell up about future product plans until they were more than a glimmer in some software architect's eye.

Borrowing a leaf from Apple doesn't sound so bad right about now.


Saturday, September 25, 2004 12:51:35 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Thanks for this, Dare. And I hope that Scoble realizes that whatever credibility he lost was due solely to his putting his foot in it and not to any changes made to an alpha product that now happen to make him look bad. I'm not sure that's what I get from reading his post. The price one pays for having the freedom to post without restriction.
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