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Monday, June 13, 2005
Microsoft and Anthropology
Bless the "river of news" -- it brought me these two little snippets one after another.

First, Scoble points to a Fortune.com on Microsoft's "anthropological" study of small business users. Next, Drew McLellan writes about trying to install SQL Server on a Win2003 Web Server Edition box.

Quick tip for the MS anthropologists: having a "Web Server Edition" that makes it quick and easy to get a Web server up and running with none of the unnessary crap -- ahem, services, sorry -- is a nice idea. Makes things simpler for the user. Making it impossible for that user to then install Microsoft database software on that server? Stupid idea. Really, really stupid idea.

Let's say I'm running a small business. I've had my own Web server running for a little while, and now I want to set up a more complex site where my Widget buyers can log in and get custom information. If I'm running Web Server Edition, I've got two choices: buy (and license) another machine to run SQL server, or shut down my current Web site and rebuild the box. Great. Thanks, Microsoft.

This is one of the places that MS has always seemed weakest to me: I believe that Microsoft is legitimately trying to make it easy for users to accomplish their tasks, but the company has an irritating habit of doing so by dictating what tasks the user can accomplish and how those tasks can be performed. As long as your needs and goals are in line with those that MS planned for, you're in good shape...start moving off of those storyboards, however, and MS becomes a lot less interested in where you'd like to go today.
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