is mcs hungry?

Is MCS Hungry? – CRN is running a news piece claiming that MCS (Microsoft Consulting Services) is now competing with partners for business, particularly in small and medium businesses. I’ve had a good deal of experience with MCS, and this article seems completely wrong to me. First, MCS can’t even come close to meeting the resource demands of the largest enterprise customers, and is forced to pick engagements very carefully to get the most strategic impact for the investment. Second, MCS is not primarily revenue-driven — MCS goals are to drive adoption of strategic technologies and maintain customer satisfaction. The revenue has historically been used to just break even and cover the costs of doing business, and I don’t think that is changing significantly. Microsoft is a software company; not a services company.

Computer people are still scarce. The article seems to contradict itself by saying that partners are worried about “poaching” of employees by Microsoft. If demand for computer services is so scarce that Microsoft would be competing with customers, then why would Microsoft be trying to poach employees to meet that demand. This is simple supply and demand — either the supply is weaker than demand or demand is weaker than supply — you can’t have it both ways. There also seems to be a contradiction in the article’s mention that Microsoft wants to force MCSE holders to update their skills to at least Windows 2000 after the launch of Windows XP. Are the people who are complaining about this the same people who claim that Microsoft is trying to oust them from their consulting gigs? MCS is about easing adoption of new technologies, and Microsoft obviously wants to get customers to use the newer stuff. If someone is complaining that they shouldn’t have to learn Windows 2000 to sell consulting services, they are obvioulsy not selling consulting services in a market that Microsoft is interested in competing in. Oh well…

Today Bill Kearney alerted me to the existence of a “File|Export|Messages” option in Outlook Express that allowed me to export my Hotmail archives to a PST. That was easy!

A co-worker pointed me to a new Arundhati Roy piece attempting to argue for the U.S. to stop fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. She says a very sensible thing in this article:


It is important for governments and politicians to understand that manipulating these huge, raging human feelings for their own narrow purposes may yield instant results, but eventually and inexorably, they have disastrous consequences. Igniting and exploiting religious sentiments for reasons of political expediency is the most dangerous legacy that governments or politicians can bequeath to any people—including their own.

But she loses me in her attempts to point out the lack of balance or “fairness” in this war. She says, Put your ear to the ground in this part of the world, and you can hear the thrumming, the deadly drumbeat of burgeoning anger.. As if we somehow missed the message on September 11!! Everyone in America knows that there are angry people in that part of the world, and we have just seen how deadly that anger can be. So what the heck is her point? They were angry enough at us before September 11 to knock down the WTC. What could we do after September 11 that would make them even more bloodthirsty for the lives of civilians? Miss Roy would have us believe that we risk getting the WTC knocked down a second time every time we affront Afghan sensitivity by dropping a bag of grain. But she seems to be missing the point.

War is not symmetrical or fair. War is what happens when differences are irreconcilable. And yes, there are such things as irreconcilable differences. U.S. policy will never be able to reconcile with a policy that says we should tolerate the existence of people who express anger by murdering thousands of Americans. For more than a decade, the whole world has known that groups like Al Qaeda existed and were plotting to express their anger by murdering mass numbers of women and children. Miss Roy has had ten years to convince them that violence is not the answer. The people of Afghanistan have had many years to throw out the Arab terrorists boldly strutting around in their country. The people in that area of the world have had ample time to clean things up on their own, and they have failed. They are not even making improvements; things are getting worse. Just doing what we did for the past ten years is obviously not working. Rewarding the cowardly murder of innocent civillians by appeasing the terrorist demands would be even stupider. The destruction of the WTC immediately destroyed all legitimacy that any demands for U.S. troops to leave Saudi Arabia might have had. Before September 11, such demands might have been seen as reasonable — now they are forever linked with “fanatic”. So if we can’t change the policies that Bin Laden wants us to change, and whatever the people in that region are doing has failed so far, we need to deal with the issue. It is not a win-win situation; it is clearly a scenario where some people’s interest’s will not be respected. That is why it is called “war”.

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