I was asked the other day what the Microsoft stance is on third-party management applications. We love them! We partner with many vendors to help them provide value in the areas where we don't. Vendors are often able to bring a particular application to market quicker than we can - and we help them do that! Does that surprise you? There are a few reasons - good ones - for that:

  • They don't have to interoperate with other Microsoft products (but sometimes they do)
  • They don't have to provide the software in more than one language (but sometimes they do), and certainly not the range of all of the ones we support
  • They don't have to meet our accessibility guidelines (such as electronic readers for the blind, etc.)
  • They don't have the same legal regulations we do
  • They can market to a small vertical application, whereas our applictions must fit the largest markets

So for those reasons, they can step into your area faster than we sometimes can, and that's a good thing. We want to make sure we hit not only the "big" markets, but the more focused ones as well.

So buy those packages - and enjoy!