Launching Products, The Microsoft Way

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

microsoft.pngLater this month, Microsoft will be launching three “new” products at the first of their “HEROES happen {here}” events:

  • Visual Studio 2008
  • SQL Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008

Now to my mind, “launch” and “release” ought to be synonymous terms here. There is a problem though, VS2008 was released last year and SQL Server will now be released later this year. So what exactly is this launch supposed to be all about if only Windows Server is actually being released at that time?

Francois Ajenstat, Microsoft SQL server product director, helpfully explained what was going on with SQL Server. Apparently it won’t be late. Instead:

…To continue in this spirit of open communication, we want to provide clarification on the roadmap for SQL Server 2008. Over the coming months, customers and partners can look forward to significant product milestones for SQL Server. Microsoft is excited to deliver a feature complete CTP during the Heroes Happen Here launch wave and a release candidate (RC) in Q2 calendar year 2008, with final Release to manufacturing (RTM) of SQL Server 2008 expected in Q3. Our goal is to deliver the highest quality product possible and we simply want to use the time to meet the high bar that you, our customers, expect.
This does not in any way change our plans for the February 27 launch…”

So apparently only having an alpha test version available, rather than the finished product, in no way changes their plans? Not sure I follow that one. If you are left somewhat confused as to what Francois is whittering on about in the above piece, you are not alone. Phil Factor has helpfully written an article that explains such marketing-speak