What in the World, Microsoft?

Kachina Shaw

Doesn't Windows Marketplace sound like a pretty good -- if long-overdue -- idea, both for Microsoft's bottom line (Windows Vista, anyone?) and for overwhelmed technology customers? With just a Windows Live ID to log in with (aha, gotcha!), you can create a secure "digital locker," where you can store all your backups, keys -- any sort of technology purchase information, really -- and then you can hop over and buy software and even hardware from Microsoft and its partners.


The author of this piece at PC Advisor thought it was a great idea, too, until he found out that he couldn't use it because he's in the UK. It's only available to customers in the U.S. What bollocks.


Last time I checked, Microsoft was a gargantuan U.S.-based company operating internationally.


Hey, remember when Microsoft altered the code for Windows Vista in order to comply with European Commission requirements that applied to EU software customers?


And I've heard that there's this nifty tool called the Internet that allows you to access the company's Web site from any wired (or wireless) location. Then you can navigate to Microsoft Worldwide to select your continent and country to access specialized site areas to make purchases, etc. The list is pretty comprehensive. It doesn't have an office in Iraq, but the Dubai office will be more than happy to service you.


So, what is the holdup? In the recent words of Microsoft watcher Robert Scoble, "Microsoft's Internet execution sucks."


OK, that was easy. But I have to wonder why, now that Microsoft has finally gotten Vista out the door -- a momentous occasion, to be sure -- it can't or won't get organized enough to roll out marketing and straight-up revenue opportunities like an international Windows Marketplace. Seems like there certainly was enough time during all those ship delays to ramp it up to coincide with the new OS.


Meanwhile, ITBE blogger Lora Bentley has been covering the Red Hat Exchange, currently in private beta. What do you know? It's an online marketplace where you can purchase open source software, support and related services from a wide variety of vendors. Anybody tried it? Does it work?

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