Build before buy
Those that know me will know that my day job involves building business intelligence solutions on Microsoft’s BI product suite. As such I was very interested in the recently published Gartner BI magic quadrant that placed Microsoft in the ‘leaders’ quadrant (i.e. the one that people want to be in). The following quote got my attention:
"According to the customers we contacted as part of this research, Microsoft offers the best BI software quality of all the megavendors, with over half of them reporting no problems with software. This reflects Microsoft’s focus on BI, the strength of its product line management team, and the fact that much of its BI technology has been internally developed rather than aquired."
Specifically its the very last point that I was interested in. Gartner is alluding to the fact that Microsoft’s policy of building all products in-house results in a much more cohesive and thus more beneficial suite of apps than, say, IBM’s does.
I believe the same can be said of Windows Live. Apart from a few exceptions (e.g. FolderShare) most of Windows Live’s offerings have been built in-house and its clear to see in properties like http://home.live.com and the shared Windows Live header that this policy results in a more cohesive and user-friendly experience than if Microsoft had simply gone out and purchased Flickr, Box.com, Upcoming.org, Netvibes, Ask.com et al. The various Windows Live properties work better together simply because they are all built in-house and I have previously suggested many other ways that that better together experience could be improved. I firmly believe there is great benefit in building things yourself so you can probably guess my reaction to the proposed purchase of Yahoo.
Note that I’m not commenting here on the quality of each individual Windows Live property.
I wonder if, in a few years, Gartner will be saying similar things about Windows Live.