So much for intermittent blogging this week. :)
Directions on Microsoft seems to have hit the nail on the head with Micosoft's Top 10 challenges for 2005.  Number one with a bullet (emphasis mine):

The roadmaps for many major Microsoft products--including Windows XP, Office, and Exchange--don't provide the detail customers and partners need to make good decisions. Customers and partners need multi-year product roadmaps with specifics about what capabilities to expect in a product and when to expect it. Otherwise, they can't reliably schedule training, plan rollouts, or decide whether to sign up for multiyear software maintenance plans. Software developers also need roadmaps to plan their own products around Microsoft's. Investors need roadmaps to see where future growth will come from.

   "Without credible product roadmaps, it's harder and riskier to invest in Microsoft and its products." --Rob Helm, Director of Research
Other useful links:
- The Exchange blog is carrying text similar to the e-mail several people forwarded to me earlier today.
- Barbara Darrow's Unblog covers the change, and then makes a similar key point:
In one sense, this is back to the future. Microsoft had, pre-exchange Edge Services, promised a massive upgrade to Exchange, code-named Kodiak. Only Kodiak was to be based on a relational data store based on the promised WinFS subsystem. And as we all know, WinFS continues to be out of sight. So this planned Exchange upgrade won't be Kodiak. But then again, who knows? ...
The Directions' roadmap bullet item, by research director Rob Helm holds that the Windows Server group has done a much better job than the other Microsoft fiefdoms in outlining its plans several years out. The flip side, however, is that these servers are so far out and Microsoft has delayed so many promised key technologies so many times, it's hard to find anyone who believes the roadmap at all.
I should take vacation more often.

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