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Microsoft's Living Dead: Zombie Products

Yes! Finally, after more than four years, we at RCPU have a legitimate excuse to link to Michael Jackson's iconic Thriller video, and to the Wikipedia entry for it, which is sprinkled with the dust of comedy gold. (Seriously, anything that includes the sentence, "The zombies then break into an elaborate song and dance number..." is well worth reading.)

So, why all of this horror imagery when Halloween is still months away? Glad you asked. There's a feature in the August issue of RCP magazine that's all about the kind  of zombies that roam around Redmond -- and partner shops and IT departments -- terrifying all who come in contact with them.

These are the products that Microsoft has either tried to kill or has left for dead, but they exist in a sort of software purgatory -- unsupported, no longer updated, but not totally buried yet. They're the living dead of Redmond's product lines, and they can cause nightmares for partners whose clients either want them or need to support them.

There are lots of examples of these zombie products, but we picked out eight for the RCP story. Some have hilarious histories (Windows Live OneCare), while others (Windows Essential Business Server) lived hard, died young and actually seemed pretty useful at some point. (That makes the latter category something of a lineup of zombie James Deans, although they're much less cool than the man himself was because they did, after all, come from Microsoft.)

Partners don't have to succumb to these zombies, though. There are ways to ward them off or kill them for good -- Including going outside the realm of Redmond. It's almost a sure thing, though, that Microsoft will continue to repopulate the ranks of zombie products, so it's worth looking out for support details hidden in FAQs or buried on product Web sites -- because having to deal with these living-dead applications is certainly no (here it comes)...thriller.

 Which Microsoft zombie product has given you the most nightmares? How have you handled suddenly unsupported product lines? Tell you scary stories at [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on August 02, 2010


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