Should or shouldn’t Microsoft be more open about Vista SP1?

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A discussion has been ping ponging back and forth as to whether or not Microsoft is going to release a Service Pack for Vista (SP1) and when if they are. Matt Freestone and Robert McLaws take a stab at the discussion today. Matt suggests that Microsoft be more secretive like Apple and Robert responds that a Steve Jobs style reveal won’t work for Microsoft.

Personally, I don’t care which path Microsoft takes. There are lots of ways to get the job done and since I’m not very good at predicting the future I’ll give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt on whatever path they choose. The true judge of what they do, in my book, is not what rules they set out, but rather how they adjust to changes in the market and what’s the best product I can get in my hands.

All I ask is that if there’s something that’s going to significantly impact me—I’d like to know in enough time so I can prepare. If it means tools and apps will need to be changed, I’d like to know. If new APIs become available I’d like a chance to experiment with them. If easier ways of doing things are going to appear, I’d like a heads up.

If I don’t hear anything, I’ll assume that there aren’t many breaking changes and the changes that are made impact things locally or in some orthogonal fashion.

But I do have “one more thing” I’d like to add on this:

I think a discussion like this would be most productive without any references to Apple or Steve Jobs or the iPod, OS X, or the iPhone. That’s the one rule I’d make. Either a decision makes sense for customers or it doesn’t. Stick with that.

I’m not suggesting to not pay attention to what others are doing. Absolutely not. I’m just saying to stay focused on what makes sense. Trying to duplicate what others are doing plus do what you were going to do all along, can lead to a waste of time and energy. If you want to exchange one DNA for another, that’s fine. But watch out when you manually forcefit one DNA–whether it’s a product, a design philosophy, a corporate strategy, or whatever–into another. Adapt yes. Mimick as needed. Just remember who you really are though, what’s important to you, and where you want to go. That’s all.