A couple of months ago, I wondered about Microsoft's lack of promotion for Windows 2000, noting that the company was spending more time educating users about its upcoming .NET strategy than drumming up support for the products it already had. I realized that Microsoft wasn't abandoning the OS, of course, but it seemed odd that the company would so thoroughly de-emphasize Win2K when the product wasn't selling as well as expected.
Well, Microsoft has responded and, needless to say, the company doesn't agree with me. To be fair, I'm providing a few comments that Microsoft's Mark Perry, the director of marketing for the Windows.NET Server group, sent. Perry says that Microsoft isn't abandoning Win2K for .NET at all.
".NET is the vision that will deliver the next generation Internet, including the increasing integration of advanced computer technologies, Internet connectivity, and Web services into electronic devices," Perry tells me. "The role that the \[Windows\] platform played in the past and the role it plays in the future is absolutely the same. Today, we have a world of applications and Web sites, and we think of those as two different worlds. With .NET, they become one. Some Web sites will be richer applications than others, but essentially everything that was an application becomes a Web site with application services. Win2K is the cornerstone of the .NET vision because it delivers the next generation of business computing. Win2K is the most reliable, scalable, and manageable solution today—a comprehensive and interoperable platform that lets developers focus on building value in applications through industry Internet standards for the future."
Perry also addresses what I called Microsoft's de-emphasis of Win2K, listing a number of areas where the company focuses on Win2K.
- Addressing customer feedback: For example, the company recently shipped Service Pack 1 (SP1). In addition, Microsoft hosts global roundtables in Redmond, travels extensively to meet customers on location, and invests millions in quantitative and qualitative research every year to make sure the company hears what customers want.
- Training: To date, more than a quarter of a million Microsoft customers and partners worldwide have been trained on Win2K via Microsoft's $40-million training initiative investment. This figure exceeds the original, overall training goal by more than two-thirds.
- Unprecedented third-party support.
- More than 10,000 compatible applications are currently available.
- More than 100 applications have been "Certified for Windows" by VeriTest, through the most rigorous certification process in the industry. Applications are optimized to fully exploit Win2K's new features, which results in significant cost savings, improved manageability, and increased reliability for customers
- Partner commitments: The recent launch of Win2K Datacenter demonstrates a fundamental model of partner services and support through the Datacenter program.
So there you go. I appreciate Microsoft taking time to respond. My relationship with the company isn't intended to be adversarial, as I told one representative last week. One thing you learn when you write about Microsoft is that you can't please everyone: When I criticize the company, the Microsoft defenders come out in force (a typical response to last week's security-related column is "Pretty strange coming from someone who is purportedly a Microsoft supporter"). When I praise Microsoft, I'm equally criticized ("How much is Microsoft paying you anyway?"). But the feedback comes with the territory, and some of my best friendships began as email disagreements. Life is grand in that way.
In any event, I'm a huge Win2K fan—and Microsoft's plans do revolve around this trend-setting product.
In other news, I'll be publishing the promised holiday shopping guide next week, thanks to all the great feedback from Windows 2000 Magazine UPDATE readers. Some of the results surprised me to say the least; they might surprise you as well. Stay tuned!