When I lose my MVP status, we’ll all look back on this blog post and understand why. I just can’t help myself though – Microsoft has made some real head-shaking decisions over the last couple of weeks.
Sorta-Kinda-Announced-But-Not-Really – At UK Tech Days, Microsoft staff announced a release date of May 21st. No press releases came out for days, and then we got an invite to a press conference on 4/21. This led to a lot of guessing and second-guessing about whether maybe the date was incorrectly given (April 21 or May 21?), and then…
Surprise! The Bits Were Available – Vidas Matelis scooped Microsoft when he announced on Twitter that the R2 evaluation download page was live. He’d been reading the SQL Performance blog on MSDN and decided he’d try it. Further digging suggests that the R2 Express Edition is ready now.
Odd “Launch” Labeling – If you can’t download the software for production use, it’s not a launch.
Period. Full stop.
The SQL Server team has a particularly hard time understanding this. In 2008, they “launched” SQL Server 2008 in February – but they admitted you wouldn’t actually be able to download it for months. This time around, the ”launch” is is 4/21, but all you can download is an evaluation version. They’re getting better, but still not good enough.
No MSDN or TechNet Downloads – The public gets to download an evaluation version free, but those of us who actually paid money for MSDN access or Enterprise Agreements can’t download it until May 3rd. I could understand if we’d all been given a Release Candidate version to bang on, but…
No Widely-Released RC – The last bits most people saw were a November Community Preview. Microsoft has historically delivered multiple CTPs, then a final Release Candidate, and then given the Release to Manufacturing go-ahead.
I work in marketing for a software company, and I know how hard it can be to coordinate a global launch. Software isn’t always ready when the marketing team’s campaign is ready, and the dates of events like PASS Europe aren’t going to change. But seriously, Microsoft, you can do better.