The Microsoft split begs the question: Which part will get the name?

Second Guessing Game

The Microsoft split begs the question: Which part will get the name?

If Judge Jackson’s initial ruling is sustained, then Bill and Steve have to decide who gets the music collection and who gets that nice new electric wok. But here’s the slightly bigger question: What happens to the certification programs?

We could play the ostrich game and, with heads embedded in the nearest sand hill, pretend that’s never ever going to happen so why worry about it. Or we can look at all the improbable events of the past few decades and decide that a little consideration of the possibilities is in order.

Redmond is more likely to publish all its APIs in the National Enquirer than address any specifics about the-breakup-that-will-never-happen, so let’s do some hypothesizing. Let’s call the two new companies Windows, Inc., which gets Windows, and EverythingElse Corp., which gets everything else. The two companies aren’t supposed to have any special relationship, so the concept of some kind of jointly shared certification will likely be forbidden by the antitrust ruling.

So how will your MCSE hold up if the tests you’re taking are for products owned by two separate companies? Maybe your MCSE becomes a WSE (Windows Systems Engineer) certification. Let’s see how the market reacts to that (actually, Auntie guesses that a Windows-only certification will still carry weight with employers).

EverythingElse Corp. gets the lion’s share of test-ables in the MCSE elective list—including Internet Explorer—presuming Bill doesn’t attempt to extend the definition of an operating system to include any code ever executed between the orbits of Venus and the Jovian moons.

Plus, EverythingElse Corp. gets Office, which brings this discussion to the MCSD certification. Just as Microsoft finally gets that track right, a corporate split could knock it back to square one. Windows system architecture (property of Windows, Inc.) is at the core of that program, but the bulk of the exams are on the development tools in Visual Studio and Office development, property of EverythingElse Corp. The +I certifications and the MCDBA are in the same boat. Sounds messy, eh?

Let’s face it: the certification program is way down on the list of things Microsoft cares about. It’s up to us to care and to pass our concerns along to the folks in Redmond—that they’d better have a plan in place for a post-split certification world. Chuck that why-bother-we’ll-win-on-appeal attitude. It’s that kind of arrogance that got them into this mess in the first place. Bill may well be thinking, “That’ll never happen to us!” until the day Federal marshals arrive on campus to enforce the court-ordered split.

Which brings us full circle to Auntie’s original idea for this column. I thought it would be fun to come up with some ideas for naming the two new companies: Engulf and Devour, BillCo. and Steve’s Corp. I’m glad I didn’t, because by now there must be a dozen Web sites that have popped up with just as un-original an idea. So, I’ll leave you with my initial thoughts for the names of the two mutant children of Microsoft Corp.: Dumb and Dumber.

About the Author

Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.

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