I get the impression that Microsoft is playing in a lot of different sandboxes. Even if you are just looking at the products they are launching in 2008 – Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio, Sharepoint, Silverlight – you will see great breadth, and a very compelling story. Microsoft’s epic tale brings our heroes across a wide landscape of current IT thought, considering virtualization, security, business continuity, and user experience, to name a few. But the telling of the story is refreshing, in that Microsoft recognizes that their story is not the whole story. Yes they present a complete integrated platform that covers the pillars of customer needs. But Microsoft recognizes that it’s important to build on the platform. Interoperability, by Design, reigns.

Our presenter stated that 96% of Microsoft’s revenues come from their partners. These partners customize the Microsoft solution to meet customer needs far beyond the out-of-box solution. To paraphrase our presenter’s comments about a security solution: if you have an existing solution, for instance Cisco, that’s great! We’re happy. But if you don’t, MS Network Access Protection and MS Forefront are the place to start. Or, his response to a question about XenApp and Microsoft’s new Virtualization Capabilities: Citrix and Microsoft have enjoyed a partnership for many years, Citrix will always be around, providing more bells and whistles. If you want more than the basic functionality, you need Citrix.

Written live from the Microsoft Launch Event in Fort Lauderdale FL, May 6th 2008.