Steve Ballmer ran a defrag on the org and it sure looks good. From a customer perspective the three new divisions provide a much clearer picture of the major directions we’re going in. There is nothing but goodness on all three fronts.
On the Platform Products & Services side… Windows Vista rocks! I saw the buzz and excitment around what we showed at PDC and there’s still more to come. The MSN folks have been kickin’ butt and shipping product. Again nothing but good stuff. And, of course, the Visual Studio, SQL Server and BizTalk are about to let loose one of the biggest launches ever. As he comes from the sales side, Kevin Johnson will have a decidedly customer centric view of things. I like that, which is good since that’s the org I’m in.
On the Microsoft Business side… Office 12 Rocks! I’d been watching the progress on Office 12 eagerly but was concerned that the new UI would freak people out and mask some of the incredibly wide and deep array of innovation happening in there. Seeing it in action and playing with it for a while last week at PDC totally erased that concern. The folks that played with it, loved it. Sure there’s a short ramp up time (which I think we’ll measure in minutes). It’s a small price for the incredible productivity gains unleashed and the real business value gained by the many enhancements.
On the Entertainment & Devices side… Xbox 360 Rocks! er… Windows Mobile 5 Rocks! What a great and obvious combination. I’m not a gamer, aside from the occasional Age of Mythology games with my son, but even I can see the coolness of the Xbox 360 platform. What I really get excited about is the mobile stuff. When we entered the mobile market, we chose not to build devices but rather to build the platform that our partners could use to build devices. The exact same strategy that got us to the top in the desktop market. It’s taken a few years but this will be a bust out year for us based on the Windows Mobile 5 devices I’ve seen that are coming. Motorola has the Motorola Q, HP has the 6700, and HTC has the Universal and the Wizard/Apache. I got a chance to play with some of these devices for a few minutes at PDC last week and I was stunned. There’s even rumors in the market that Palm is planning to join the Windows Mobile camp. There is just no way that Linux, Symbian or PalmOS can keep up. We’re a long way from winning this market as all the new phones are high-end smartphones. That’s why I get excited when I think about how the Devices group has now moved into the decidedly consumer focused entertainment side of the house. I’m hoping that we’ll see a low-end consumer phone by this time next year.
What a great time to be at Microsoft but more importantly what a great time to be a Microsoft customer.