I learned about this yesterday, but due to NDA could not talk about it until now. This has been the most frustrating 24 hours I can remember.
At 8am PST Friday March 5th, 2010, Microsoft pronounced dead on arrival their EBS Product Line. This includes both the upcoming release (EBS v2) and the current product EBS 2008. June 30, 2010 is the last day of sales for EBS 2008 and they have totally killed the next version of EBS v2 which was in development.
Wow…. this is an amazing wake up call for us all. Here is a product (EBS) that has been in the making for the last 5 years, and only publicly available since November 2008, and now just over 12 months after it’s gone on sale, Microsoft have canned not only it, but all future versions of it.
I don’t know about you, but this scares the shit out of me. I’ve built my business for years on the SMB space, and just when I thought Microsoft was really starting to understand the needs of the Medium business market, they go an cancel the product. I had an insight into EBS v2 but can’t disclose what was in it. What I can say was that I was even more assured that the EBS team really GOT IT. They UNDERSTOOD what the Medium business market needed. So what do Microsoft do with all this knowledge…. they go and kill the only product they have that suits that market. They leave current SBS customers with no real viable upgrade path from SBS except to their ENTERPRISE products…
They’ve effectively said that we think that the medium business market can make do with individual server products, rather than an integrated suite like we have with SBS. They’ve decided that all that marketing over the past few years about how it’s easier to manage multiple servers in your EBS network via one console is just marketing crap and there is no real value in it at all. They’ve decided that the Medium business market does not need features such as Remote Web Workplace or any of the great functionality that the EBS team have produced.
The people on the EBS team – led by Chuck Archer – they really know their stuff. I’m saddened to hear that the last 5 years of THEIR HARD WORK has led to this. Microsoft should be ashamed of itself for this decision. I really cannot understand the rationale behind Microsoft making this decision. I’ve been told that “it will be fine, just wait for the next version of Windows server and you’ll see…” Sorry Microsoft – but that is likely 2 + years away… what do I sell my customers NOW???
Let’s look at this from other perspectives.
What about the partner channel? EBS has been slow to pickup in the channel because Microsoft really didn’t do a great job of promoting it correctly. Initially they promoted it as “big SBS” which was plain wrong as it was so much more, and honestly your average SBS reseller is not selling into the EBS market. That I think was a major flaw in Microsoft logic – believing that any SBS reseller could sell EBS.
Ok – so what about those resellers that were starting to “get EBS” or those that got it from the start? Where are they to go next? Well some are just going to seriously loose out on their business. Personally – I was predicting around $500,000 NEW Revenue from EBSv2 in the next financial year in my reseller business Correct Solutions. We had around 8 sales lined up already with clients and even today I was due to take an order for for $110,000 of HP server hardware that I had to hold off on until I figure out what the alternate strategy is. Microsoft – you fail to realise that those of us that have built a business around this and have supported you EVERY SINGLE STEP OF THE WAY are now going to pay the price.
Am I angry… yes. I’m angry for a few reasons. I’m angry because I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t predict that Microsoft would make such a dumb assed move as to kill a product like this that held such great potential. I’m angry because I believed in my heart that this was winner and I KNOW that customers will be adversely affected by this decision. I’m angry because I’ve spent a fair bit of my own blood sweat and tears selling this product to our clients – heck we did an EBS 2008 install TODAY and now I have to tell the client on Monday that the product is discontinued. I’m angry because maybe I drank too much of the Kool-Aid and actually believed in Microsoft. Yes – maybe I’m the dumb ass in all of this. Maybe I should not be trusting Microsoft with my future or the future of my business. Microsoft you are making me rethink a lot of things. I’ve got to say that you will probably make a LOT of resellers do the same with this move.
So, I’ve got to ask one final question…. what next Microsoft? What dumb assed move will you make next and take us by surprise?