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Product Lifecycle Management

Platform versus apps

Attending a Microsoft conference this week on the future of their platform. I thought this was going to be at the MSFT campus, but it turns out that its just at the hotel were we’re all staying because there are too many attendees.

It’s been very interesting and I’ve reconfirmed my belief that despite what some may think, MSFT is a company firmly commited to product excellence. This is not so much a comment on their product quality as it is on their never-ending quest to push the state of the art in a cost effective ownership model.

As a partner, it requires us to be continually on the cutting edge as well, since what was great new stuff in our apps a release ago is all of the sudden in the platform. I don’t consider this to be as insidious as many of my ISV colleagues…rather it’s good for the customer. Much like Walmart drives cost out of the supply chain to deliver every day low prices to its customers, Microsoft drives innovation into its partner ecosystem to deliver increased application value to its customers. And the same way that Walmart is considered a hero and a villain, Microsoft also plays both roles. The lesson for ISVs is clear: get ready to run if you want to partner with MSFT. If you can stay ahead, you’ll reap great rewards…if you fall behind you’ll soon find your apps in the platform.

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