Last week's big Redmond stories were the release of Dynamics Live CRM and the announcement that Windows Server 2008 would come out in February of next year along with the next revs of SQL Server and Visual Studio. The week prior it was how Apple iPhone seemed a little worm-ridden when compared even to Windows Mobile. And naturally, at the time, I agreed. No one's open-mouthed with surprise, but even so, I feel it's important to point out that I don't think the iPhone is total bullocks. And nothing has served to bring that out more than Microsoft's release of Dynamics Live.
Sure, Apple messed up the iPhone. Nothing ticks off the geek set more than a company promising great things with vagaries, then delivering lots of not-so-great specifics. Locked-down APIs mean no mobile app coolness for the foreseeable future, no hardware price breaks, a nasty phone plan relationship, and difficulty integrating with the desktop stuff with which the biz people like to integrate. The iSheep, who need an Apple logo tattooed on as many of their belongings as possible, will buy one anyway. But IT management will ignore the thing for as long as possible since it represents only additional support work. There are no new user bennies to speak of when you think about it.
But that's just the situation today. Right now. It doesn't mean Apple can't fix it tomorrow. And that last word doesn't carry much poetic license either because most of the iPhone's problems aren't technical — they're just bad business. Pump some lattes into a few MBAs up there in Cupertino and you could find those APIs suddenly opening up. Or some new phone plan vendors and relationships being announced. Maybe even some money breaks that might allow us to describe the gadget's price tag as merely "expensive" rather than outright "wallet-raping." And if that happens, Microsoft will have to organize a giant butt-kicking party on one of those soccer fields that litter the campus because Redmond has an opportunity right now, and the company is messing it up.
A little Q&A:
Q: Who are the most mobile workers on average?
Q: What new application type can benefit salespeople the most, provided that its implementation isn't horrible?
Q: What's Microsoft just released that makes CRM adoption as easy as possible for the broadest swath of its customers?
A: Hosted CRM from SMB on up.
Q: Where are salespeople automatically going to want access to that app?
A: On the road.
Q: What Microsoft mobile OS platform is cheaper, open, and probably easier to build on than any other mobile OS platform out there today?
A: Windows Mobile.
Q: Yet what Microsoft mobile OS platform has been plagued by completely unnecessary reliability bugs since version 5?
A: Yeah, that's right: Windows Mobile.