I left Microsoft almost two years ago and even before I left I heard “wait until you see what Ray Ozzie is doing.” For two years I’ve checked in occassionally with his team to see if they are ready and for two years I’ve heard silence.
I have some questions, though.
1. My wife’s blog is on Microsoft’s Live Spaces and it’s always been slow, slow, slow. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s new Web Services are going to be fast, fast, fast?
2. Hotmail doesn’t work very well on non-Internet Explorer browsers. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s new Web Services are going to be really standards based?
3. When I left Microsoft very few employees focused their work on the Internet. In fact, the day I left I read all of Bill Gates’ Thinkweek papers. Only about 10% had anything to do with Internet stuff and only a small fraction of those had anything to do with Web Services. So, why should we believe that Microsoft’s smartest people are focused on this effort?
4. When I’ve gotten a look into Google’s data centers I see they are outstripping Microsoft’s efforts everywhere. Google even builds its own disk drivers to optimize the speed at which data gets taken off of those Seagate drives (I only saw Seagate drives in the data center I got into. Disclaimer: Seagate is now sponsoring my show on FastCompany.tv) and put into your browser. Microsoft, however, relies on outside developers to build much of the drivers that run its equipment. So, why should be believe that Microsoft will build infrastructure that can beat that of Google or Amazon? (Thanks to open source, Google rolls much of its innovative work in infrastructure back into Linux, which is open to other data center providers, like those you see running Amazon’s Web Services).
5. Internet services, when new, are almost always brittle. Remember eBay in its early days? It was down for two days straight. Lately? We haven’t heard a story like that about eBay in many years. Amazon and Google have had Web Services running for years now and, while they still have an occassional burp, are fairly robust and are reliable. Many businesses are now getting to the point where they trust these services to stay up. Why should be believe that Microsoft’s new services will stay up under load?
If Ray Ozzie can answer these questions then the world might start paying attention. Either way, looks like it’s a good thing I’m going to Mix.