Thursday, March 03, 2005

Microsoft fuzzes up the definition of Project Green

Satya Nadella, head of Microsoft's Project Green, appears to be redefining success in delivery of his initiative. In an interview with Computerworld he says,
Project Green is one of those things that with a little help from us gets written up as different things by different people. Project Green is a bunch of research we're doing on those design pillars I talked about. It is also actual product delivery of that research in the context of releases of Great Plains or Navision or CRM. Project Green is showing up in our products today. When we start taking the innards of the business logic of these apps and start putting models on them, putting them on a single model, that's when you'll start to see us having a convergence of our core code.
The goal of Project Green originally was very clear: the development of a single code base that would be the successor product to Microsoft's four acquisitions: Great Plains, Solomon, Navision, and Axapta.

But, Project Green has had a rough go from the start. First, it fell behind schedule and Microsoft cut the number of developers assigned to it from 200 to 70. Then it faced further delays with the push back of delivery of Longhorn, Microsoft's next generation operating system, which was to supply the developer tools and other infrastructure pieces for Green.

Now, if I'm reading Nadella correctly, Green isn't a product at all, but a process--a bunch of research that produces incremental enhancements in existing products. At some point, the four products will converge into one core system. When will that be? Nadella doesn't say, but it sounds like a long time.

To be fair, in the rest of the interview, Nadella says some good things about evolving Microsoft's applications into a service oriented architecture (SOA), one that will make them easier to incorporate into composite applications that include components of other vendors. But, based on the track record of Green thus far, one has to ask whether Microsoft can deliver on even this scaled back vision.

Nadella's interview continues to show the difficult time that Microsoft is having in developing, marketing, and selling enterprise applications.

Update Mar. 7. Information Week has an article confirming that Microsoft is changing the definition of Project Green. Further clarification from Microsoft is expected at the MBS Convergence partner show this week in San Diego.

Related posts
Microsoft to put enterprise applications on the auction block?
Is Microsoft dying?
Microsoft eats more humble pie in enterprise software business
Microsoft slowing down Project Green
Microsoft: selling enterprise software is a "humbling experience"
Microsoft Longhorn cutbacks threaten Project Green

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