October 30, 2006

Allchin Interview

There's a interview with Jim Allchin over at Mary Jo Foley's All About Microsoft site entitled What did Microsoft learn from Vista? Allchin is the Co-President of Microsoft's Platform business unit.

It's a terrific insight into innovation and product development. Here's a quote that relates to what innovation means at Microsoft:

"Q: I’ve been confused by some of the messaging around this. (CEO Steve) Ballmer is out there saying that no Windows development cycle will ever take Microsoft as long as Vista did, ever again. He’s even said that the whole “integrated innovation” concept Microsoft has been championing is outdated. Now it’s “innovate, then integrate” – whatever that really means…

Allchin: Let me give you my viewpoint of that. There was a phrase that (Chairman) Bill (Gates) used called integrated innovation. Some people got confused that that meant you just integrate it, put it in a big bowl and stir it up. I'm being silly, but — versus you innovate and then integrate. So you want to get the innovation done and then you integrate it, and then you make sure of the dependencies. So to some degree I would say the balance that Microsoft needs to attain is how far you reach. There were engineering learnings that took place during the Longhorn thing, but the real question is how far you reach each time. The truth is that Windows Vista has been done in two and a quarter years. That's the truth. We basically started in August or so of 2004."
In my opinion Allchin nails the bottom line when he says - "the balance that Microosft needs to maintain is how far you reach" Meaning - set realistic, uncomplicated product development goals.

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