There is an email floating around from Microsoft asking DesktopStandard Software Customers to participate in a survey regarding Desktop Standard products, such as PolicyMaker, ProfileMaker, and GPO Vault. They want to know what the current Desktop Standard customers think of the Microsoft aquisition. Someone I know had this to say:
Yes PoliTech, I took the survey, and here is what I think:
I’m somewhat less favorable to depending on DesktopStandard products for managing my Windows network these days. Why do I say I am somewhat less favorable? Due to the following:
Microsoft’s announcement of the removal of current DesktopStandard PolicyMaker functionality (i.e. “Software Update”), Confused MS technical support, no new DesktopStandard PolicyMaker functionality, updates or improvements have been made available since the MS acquisition, Tech Blog posts and news announcements hinting that the entire DesktopStandard PolicyMaker product will be scrapped or split up into multiple other MS products.
It appears that the DesktopStandard PolicyMaker product, a sound, reliable product, has now been relegated to “dead product” status, but one for which we are still paying maintenance.
The DesktopStandard PolicyMaker “Software Update” functionality could have been improved to allow for support of Active Directory GPO distribution of such things as “.msp” Windows Installer Patches, Legacy “.EXE” software installations, and as a viable alternative to the “workaround” solutions now available from Microsoft regarding GPO distribution of MS Office 2007, rather than simply scrapping that bit of DesktopStandard PolicyMaker functionality altogether.
It seems that Microsoft’s acquisition of DesktopStandard PolicyMaker was solely intended to force customers into using SMS, the MS desktop optimization pack (subscription) or another desktop/software management suite (such as Altiris), in addition Microsoft is nearly forcing customers away from using the Active Directory GPO software distribution tools that are already built in (and thus do not increase company expenditure on more MS products).
DesktopStandard PolicyMaker is the best example of how much more management power there is yet to be wrought from Active Directory. I am hoping that Microsoft management takes a closer look at these decisions regarding the DesktopStandard products and chooses to take the products in a better direction than is currently evident.
Just another example of “marketing” over “functionality”. Someone does it better, MS can’t get it done, and so MS buys and then mismanages, overbloats, or simply scraps an entire product. (WinFS? … Portable Media Center? … VirtualPC? … Bungie? The list just goes on and on!)
Oops! The currently available DesktopStandard Products are NOT Vista compatable! The Group Policy extensions actually crash the GPMC on Vista! Color me surprised…well, not really.
And as if to prove my point about “marketing” over “functionality” check out the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack website. See any way to acquire the vaporous Vista compatable PolicyMaker component of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack? No! … But there is plenty of marketing garbage. Unless you count six or seven .pdf files and a bunch of amateurishly done marketing videos as “Software”.
The Engineer who sent me the email above is also pretty irked that the twenty thousand or so spent on DesktopStandard PolicyMaker maintainance seems to have been money thrown down the proverbial toilet.
Update: Microsoft has announced to partners and Premier customers that DesktopStandard PolicyMaker will be “Sunsetted” at the end of the year.
What the heck does that even mean?