'Launching a product isn’t just features, it’s time to market'

Ex-Microsoftee Tim Jarrett on Microsoft's online mapping play, MSN Virtual Earth.

"Launching a product isn’t just features, it’s time to market. Shimon commented that there’s no question that Microsoft will keep innovating in this space and lap the competition. My question, as in my first post, is what took so long? Certainly the first feature, combining satellite and map in the same interface, is something that Microsoft could have done years ago. But from all appearances it took the arrival of competition for the company to deliver that value to customers.

My point is that the competition is good—for customers, for the company, and for its shareholders. And that brings me dangerously close to a hobbyhorse that I’ve been on and off for a long time . Microsoft can’t be the only company in a space and still deliver maximum value, because it generally does its best work in response to competition. That’s not a reflection on the company’s technical skills but on its great organizational strength: the way it responds to a challenge."

If you haven't seen the Channel 9 video interview and demo of MSN Virtual Earth, check it out here .