WSJ writes about how Microsoft is changing the way it develops software to counter Google:
Microsoft’s holy grail is a system that cranks out a new, generally bug-free version of basic Windows every few years, with frequent updates in between to add enhancements or match a competitor’s offering.
The Longhorn crisis helps explain the sweeping restructuring that Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced this week to organize the company into three major business units. A key goal is to force Microsoft to be more nimble in producing and delivering software.
While Windows itself couldn’t be a single module — it had too many functions for that — it could be designed so that Microsoft could easily plug in or pull out new features without disrupting the whole system. That was a cornerstone of a plan Messrs. Srivastava and Valentine proposed to their boss, Mr. Allchin. Microsoft would have to throw out years of computer code in Longhorn and start out with a fresh base. It would set up computers to automatically reject bug-laden code. The new Longhorn would have to be simple. It would leave bells and whistles for later — including Mr. Gates’s WinFS, Messrs. Srivastava and Allchin say.