Reading the Longhorn SDK docs is a disorienting experience. Everything's familiar but different. Consider these three examples:

[Full story: Replace and defend via Jon's Radio]

"Replace & Defend" is certainly a strategy that would have awakened the entire non Microsoft Developer world during the recent PDC event. I know these events are all about preaching to the choir (Windows only developers), but as someone who has worked with Microsoft technologies as an ISV since the late 80's there is something about this events announcements that leave me concerned.

Ironically these concerns aren't about the competitive aspects of their technology disruptions, but more along the lines of how Microsoft (I hope inadvertently) generates the kinds of sentiments echoed in the comments thread from Scobles recent "How to hate Microsoft" post. As indicated in my response to this post, I don't believe Microsoft is as bad or evil as is instinctively assumed in many quarters, but I can certainly understand why they are hated by others which is really unfortunate, especially bearing in mind that they have done more good than harm to date (in my humble opinion) .

Anyway, back to my concerns post PDC which I break down as follows:

  1. Disruptive assaults on existing standards with the only benefit being Microsoft platform centricity. Jon Udell addressed this in his "Replace and Defend" post (which kicked of this post), and I see exactly what he sees here, and I don't see any reason for this approach whatsoever. Even if one of these standards was deficient what stops the Microsoft from addressing these deficiencies, and then should the W3C's standards acceptance and ratification process bogs things down at least let the industry know you gave it openness a chance but have to move on etc..

  2. Gradual obsolescence of existing Microsoft standards which used to provide interfaces for 3rd party ISV partners, and replacing these with totally closed infrastructure implementations that bind to Microsoft products only.  A good example is WinFS, I believe in the unified data storage concept, it's a vision that I've believed in for many years, but there is no notion from any PDC presentation or Blog that I have read so far (I aggregate a serious number of feeds) that Microsoft is committed to an architectural strategy that enables 3rd party ISVs to hook their data stores and data sources into this storage infrastructure - it's simply about Yukon (SQL Server) and that's basically it.

WinFS needs to architecturally separate the System Provider from the Data Provider (pretty much the OLE-DB architecture) with Microsoft naturally providing reference System Provider (pretty much what was demonstrated at PDC) and Data Provider (ADO.NET, OLE DB, and ODBC) implementations. Third parties can choose to produce custom WinFS Service or Data Providers which serve their data access needs. It's impractical to want to force every non SQL Server customer over to SQL Server in order them to exploit WinFS, and I certainly hope this isn't the definitive strategy at Microsoft.