I believe Microsoft may be distracted. There's plenty to be distracted about: Surface sales, Windows 8 adoptions, reorgs, the Cloud, others. But, distractions should not be allowed to hamper the quality of what a company produces or makes available to the public.
Over the last year or so there's been a steady increase in the number of problems with Microsoft product updates and releases. Each month seems to bring up a new issue causing customers pains, and the issues are not always centered on specific configurations, some of them are more general and affect a large group of customers. This month already, several updates have been reported to have problems. Here's what's been reported so far this week:
Three issues doesn't seem like much on the surface, but if you go back through the past year or longer, you'll see a steady increase in releases that had a least one or two problems. As an example, back in February 2013, there were a huge number of issues reported with a major service pack release for System Center 2012, noted here: Update: System Center 2012 SP1 Woes, Gotchas, and Workarounds. Microsoft eventually worked through and solved the bugs, but only after customer community outcry signaled the alarm.
What is also important to highlight is that the issues reported this week already are in three completely different areas. It's not like a single product group fell down on the job, but three distinct areas have been conveyed as exhibiting problems.
As Microsoft has shifted their focus from an Enterprise on-premise solution provider to a Cloud-centric entity, QA/QC has dipped. Everyone knows (or should) that testing patches and updates before mass deployment is a critical part of the deployment process, however, the demise of TechNet subscriptions has not made it any easier on the good customers who like to test patches before deploying them.
Let's hope, that as Microsoft rights itself and gets back into a groove, things will settle down and QA/QC processes can be reviewed, modified, and fixed. Incidentally, there have been reports from customers that they are also experiencing pains from Microsoft support, which has always been one of Microsoft's best features. I'm still gathering evidence on that for a future report, but it makes sense to me that if QA/QC is suffering, support probably is, too.
How about you? Have you noticed a decline in quality updates, patches, and releases? Do you think Microsoft QA/QC can keep up with the new rapid release schedule?