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  • Attention partners: Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time

    Posted on January 13th, 2021 at 13:34 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has made the mistake of going around its partners in the past. Isn’t buying direct the way to go? No, not really. When there’s a healthy marketplace of trained professionals supporting and consulting small businesses then they are able to get just the type of support they want and work with someone that understands thier business goals and can help them move the technology in the same direction that their business is going. When the market isn’t attractive to partners, then consumers of the product have less choice and fewer support options. What Microsoft is doing here is alarming and all should be concerned. From end user, partner to distributor.

    Repost from Third Tier: Microsoft really is coming for your clients this time – Ultimate Support for IT Pros – ThirdTier

    There’s been a lot of false claims in the past that Microsoft was coming for your clients. But in this new round of intrusion into the trusted CSP-Client relationship, Microsoft really is coming for your clients. All around forums, user groups and social media the emails are being circulated and they are scary. In one complaint that I read on a private MVP group, the CSP, well let’s just quote them, “We almost lost a 50k/month Azure WVD client as Microsoft offered their implementation for free. We kept the client onboard thankfully, thanks to value-added services”

    I understand that Microsoft has a problem with some resellers not providing depth nor breadth of services to clients and tying those clients up making it difficult for other more active and consultive CSP’s and MSP’s to expand, but Microsoft really needs a way to determine whether a partner is active with the client or whether they have sold, migrated and are done. Those of us working actively with our clients shouldn’t be subject to any competitor coming in and disrupting our business.

    Here are a couple of samples of the email that your clients are getting from Microsoft.

    On Azure:

    I hope this email finds you well! My name is Blake Wheeler,and I am reaching out on behalf of Microsoft’s Azure Team. I spoke to Lisa from (Edit: Client name) and she referred me to reach out to you. I was reaching out to Lisa about the opportunity to participate in a Complimentary Deep Dive Evaluation. This will help you and your team assess any Cyber Security Threats, overutilization and/or underutilization of your network and provide a complete network and hardware scan for (Edit: client name) with reports tailored the way you want them.

    The first step for this evaluation is scheduling a Teams meeting with our Evaluations Specialist where they will go over the process in more detail. Please let me know a good date/time that you had 15-30 minutes of availability next week and I will get everything set up. I have attached a short deck with information on the process as well.

    On 365:

    On 365:

    Happy New Years! My name is [MS-REPNAME] and I work directly for Microsoft to help businesses get the most out of their relationship with Microsoft and I was recently assigned to support you and your company. I assist with device procurement and discounting, end-user training, general IT questions, licensing, etc.

    Do you have time for a brief intro call this week so we can learn how to best advance your IT strategies moving forward?

    Thank you! We look forward to a great partnership!


    If those email copies don’t make you angry, as they do this Microsoft fan, then perhaps re-read them. I’m not the alarmist type but this intrusion into the relationship with my client has really taken me aback.

  • So why do you buy a Windows PC?

    Posted on November 28th, 2020 at 19:30 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Interesting post from the guy who knows more about Windows licensing than the Attorneys who work for Windows licensing know about Windows licensing…..

    So think back to your last Windows pc purchase.  Exactly why did you buy it?  What compelling application do you run on it?

    Welcome to the PC Malaise Era

  • Microsoft salaries

    Posted on September 3rd, 2020 at 05:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A real eye-opener.

    David Gershgorn on OneZero reports on a fascinating self-reported collection of salary statistics for Microsoft. Based on 310 entries submitted in the past year (again, I emphasize, this is self-reported):

    Based on this year’s respondents, the average entry-level engineer or program manager will have a total compensation of $125,665. A vast majority (87%) of that will come from an average base salary of $111,096, with an average cash award of $10,701 and stock award of $3,867.

    The numbers go up rapidly.

    At level 64, which includes only 11 of the respondents, salary counted for only 72% of an average total compensation of $234,249.

    Shoulda woulda coulda.

  • Panos Panay gets more of the Windows pie

    Posted on August 6th, 2020 at 11:11 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Report just in from Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet:

    Microsoft is moving part of the Core OS and Intelligent Edge (COSINE) team under Panay in order to create more of an end-to-end servicing and shipping experience… Some parts of COSINE engineering, specifically around the Windows core, are staying with Executive Vice President of Azure Jason Zander.

    Microsoft has long separated Windows “core” and Windows “what the customer sees” efforts into separate teams. Now, it seems, Panay is absorbing all but the base plumbing of the kitchen sink.

    I keep hoping that these restructurings will help Microsoft stabilize Windows 10.

  • Microsoft and TikTok – a match made in Clippy heaven

    Posted on August 3rd, 2020 at 09:29 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I don’t have any particular words of wisdom to add to the ongoing debacle, except to say that Microsoft is very, very good at killing its acquisitions. Tell me when I can sign up for TikTokTeams.

    Tom Warren at The Verge has an interesting spin on the acquisition:

    The key part of any TikTok deal will be the data and users Microsoft gains access to… Microsoft has all the data it needs on business usage of software, but it hasn’t been successful with pure consumer services in recent years, which has left the company with a gap of insight into consumer behaviors.

    So Tom sees the acquisition as an acquihire-like bid to get even more data. An acquisnoop.

    Wonder if they’ll call it TikTokTelemetry?

  • Microsoft Closes Retail Stores

    Posted on June 26th, 2020 at 11:02 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has announced it is closing almost all of its retail Stores (and the few that won’t close won’t be selling products and will be turned into Microsoft Experience Centers).

    This is a devastating blow to existing Microsoft Surface users looking for decent support and it certainly won’t do much to help with sales of new Surface devices.

    One counterbalance to the poor online and phone support for Surface products was that if you were fortunate to live within traveling distance to a Microsoft Store, most consumers could get better results for hardware issues than using online support. And then there was the instant exchange, as opposed to sending in your broken device and waiting, sometimes up to two or more weeks for a replacement. And then getting a bad replacement. At the Stores, the replacement process was usually instant and customers could examine the replacement product (reject if needed), etc. For many with bulging batteries in Surface Book and SP4 devices, going to a MS Store was the only solution to avoid a $600 out of warranty charge (Microsoft cut off free replacements after 3 years from date of Purchase). The Store staff “got it”. The Apple Stores right next store to most of the MS Stores replaced batteries and devices all day long. And took care of swollen batteries in Macbook Pros.

    The closest store to me was one mile from the Massachusetts border. That Store had a robust small business sales and support business. When in the Store, I often saw pickups of multiple new Surface devices. And they handled software and hardware issues for these customers easily. There were actually smiles on the faces of those folks waiting for the techs to work on their devices. This speaks to the top level skills of these MS Store technicians.

    As Amy Babinchak stated in the Third Tier Facebook page “This is a sucky development. The Microsoft store was a valuable partner to my MSP. They hand delivered orders directly to clients, managed warranty and repair issues like pros I’ve never seen before. The existence of the store legitimatized the Surface line of products. This is a sad event “


  • C’mon, Microsoft. Cancel the Build conference sooner rather than later.

    Posted on March 3rd, 2020 at 10:34 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft has cancelled the MVP Summit, slated for the week-after-next in Seattle.

    Now we’re looking at the next big MS conference, Build, on May 19 in Seattle. Sorry, but there’s no way on our big blue planet that it’ll be safe to have a large conference in Seattle in May.

    Microsoft’s official Build page now says:

    In light of the global health concerns due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Microsoft is monitoring public health guidance in relation to in-person events. At this time, global health authorities have not issued guidance to avoid travel to this location. We are looking carefully at our event calendar as well as our presence at industry events in the coming months. We are not taking decisions lightly, but the health and well-being of our employees, partners, customers and other guests remain our ultimate priority.

    We will continue to monitor and make any necessary changes as the situation evolves.

    March 2, 2020

    Which sure sounds like a CYA to me.

    Why can’t Microsoft, of all organizations, just shift to online conferences? Why make people wait and wonder if they’re going to need (or cancel) plane reservations, hotels, meeting plans? And in the future, why have conferences at all? Sure they make Microsoft a lot of money – but it’s only a roundoff error in the corporate income statement.

    We’re better than this. Microsoft should’ve led the way years ago with online conferences.

  • Microsoft deleting – not moving – old Internet Explorer documentation

    Posted on November 9th, 2019 at 05:43 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    A disturbing report from @VulturEMaN:

    My RSS feeds for MS documentation updates is showing a lot of IE8/9 documentation updates, but when I click those links all result in a 404. Likely these pages are being deleted. This just started over the last 2 days.

    Feed that doesn’t show the deletions:

    And then they’re deleting the update from the RSS feed itself. The proof is in the RSS posts that my account is showing for that feed, since RSS readers typically keep a copy of anything ever in the feed, even if it was added by mistake or removed.

    I have no kind words for people that delete documentation.Why aren’t they moving it to a site like and then put a big banner at the top that it’s legacy? How many of these articles are relevant to later versions of IE, so we don’t repeat history?

    You can read a more detailed account – including a list of 74 links that have disappeared – on Reddit.

  • Surface Pro X review embargo just lapsed

    Posted on November 5th, 2019 at 03:15 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    If you look around, you’ll see a flood of reviews of the Surface Pro X, which apparently went off embargo around 10 pm Redmond time. That’s how the hardware review business works: Publications line up to get free first-run machines, promising to hold off on reviews until a specific date and time. Looks like the alarm just went off.

    Of course, Microsoft doesn’t send me review units. (You thought otherwise?) So I just read the reviews like anybody else. Of course, given the Surface support history and the fact that it’s an ARM-based machine with all the compatibility headaches that implies, I would never buy one. But still it’s cute seeing Microsoft’s response to the iPad.

    Part of a natural ARM progression: Windows RT was a joke. Surface RT died a horrible death. Windows 10 in S Mode was an embarrassment. Now Surface Pro X. The review practically writes itself — although Microsoft will assure you ten ways from Tuesday that the Surface Pro X is better and different because it’ll run Windows desktop apps.

    Yep. Pull the other finger.


    Brad Sams at Petri: Surface Pro X Review: A Classic Look For The New Mobile Worker

    Cherlynn Low, Engadget: Surface Pro X review: Gorgeous hardware marred by buggy software

    Sam Rutherford for Gizmodo: Microsoft’s Surface Pro X Goes Full Batman

    Dan Ackerman at CNet: Surface Pro X review: A Surface evolution, but the software hasn’t caught up yet

    Jacob Krol, CNN: Microsoft’s Surface Pro X is for many, but not everyone yet

    And on and on…

    Just in case you were wondering, yes, absolutely, Microsoft vets their reviewers carefully. For example


  • Goodbye Technet, MSDN – welcome to Microsoft Q&A

    Posted on October 31st, 2019 at 06:25 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    It’s too early to tell how this is going to turn out, but MS has committed to freezing Technet and the MSDN network, and replacing them with the latest, greatest Answers forum yet, Microsoft Q&A.

    MSDN and TechNet forums are outdated. To provide the set of capabilities that our customers need and want, we created a robust, scalable, and reliable new platform called Microsoft Q&A.

    It doesn’t replace the Microsoft Answers forum, which will continue its role as a neglected wasteland of officially neglected complaints. Sorry. Microsoft Q&A supports:

    Azure Active Directory
    Azure Active Directory Domain Services
    Azure Active Directory B2C
    Azure Information Protection
    Azure DevTest Labs
    Azure Lab Services
    Azure Virtual Machines
    Azure Web Apps
    Universal Windows Platform
    Partner Center API

    Which leads to such titillating questions as:

    What types of applications can I deploy with Service Fabric Mesh?

    Not likely to be one of your burning queries, eh? Microsoft explains:

    This integrated experience will allow us to better prioritize and answer questions, and give users clearer paths between documentation, learning content, and answers. Microsoft Q&A also offers a much better set of permissions that will equip our moderators with improved tools.

    Which all seems well and good for the technically plugged-in.

    MS is making a clean break with its old MSDN and Technet forums. If you’ve earned “reputation” points in the older forums, they’re disappearing, at least for now:

    In the next few months, when a user searches for something that doesn’t appear when they’re browsing in Microsoft Q&A, we’ll use machine learning to display read-only questions and answers from MSDN and TechNet forums… Currently you can’t carry over your MSDN and TechNet reputation. However, in the future we’ll give you the opportunity to link Microsoft Q&A and MSDN and TechNet forums. When this is an option, your current badges and points from MSDN and TechNet forums will be displayed as part of your Microsoft Q&A profile.

    I wish them luck!

  • A short note on Microsoft earnings

    Posted on October 25th, 2019 at 10:53 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I don’t dig into Microsoft earnings statements anymore. Paul Thurrott sums up the reason nicely:

    Microsoft is eager for investors to believe that it’s the equal of Amazon AWS in the cloud, so it engages in a little bit of semantic trickery by inventing a non-business called Commercial Cloud that includes a revolving cherry-picked selection of products and services that put its own efforts in a good light.

    That’s precisely what’s happened. You can no more compare “cloud revenue” (whatever that means) from year-to-year or quarter-to-quarter than you can compare the number of bugs on your windshield. Amy Hood once again demonstrates her considerable, enviable magic.

    Suffice it to say that Microsoft made a heap of money, that Office subscriptions are raking it in, that Azure is receiving the lion’s share of the publicity, AI (whatever that means) is everybody’s dahlin’, and that Windows is still a small lump of coal in an undifferentiated, increasingly forgotten corner.

  • Whittaker: Speak truth to power

    Posted on October 23rd, 2019 at 15:07 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    I just finished reading James Whittaker’s post on Medium called Speaking Truth to Power: Reflections on My Career at Microsoft.

    Wow. If you want to see What’s Really Wrong with Windows (one of my favorite topics), you really need to read this.

    If Windows was the only refuge for recycled failures — the wannabe leaders who energetically and emphatically backed Gates’ and Ballmer’s strategy that whiffed on the web, cloud and mobile — Microsoft might be ok. But the residue of the past is thick in enough places that it is suffocating the culture of tomorrow.

    Is there hope? For Microsoft, yes, absolutely. For Windows… I’m not so sure.