There’s been lots of debate about the issue that appears on computers running the Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 management console (EMC) after the installation of IE9. The symptoms are described in the EHLO post of 9 September. Interestingly, the problem doesn’t appear on every computer, a point that has been strongly made by Microsoft representatives in debates on various mailing lists. However, the facts are that the problem does appear on many computers and that Microsoft hasn’t done a sparkling job of managing the situation. In a nutshell, Microsoft failed to detect that this was a problem that affected many people and needed to be fixed and then compounded the issue through interminable internal discussions between the engineering groups responsible for Internet Explorer (IE), the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), and Exchange.
At last it seems that IE has accepted that the problem lies in their code and that the Exchange and IE teams are now working to come up with a solution. I’ve debated the issue at length with various people in Microsoft, including some of their senior management, and my overall assessment of the situation is available at WindowsITPro.com.
Despite recent hiccups on the quality front, I don’t think that Exchange has a systematic or enduring quality problem. Nor do I think that they have a communications problem, if only because of the frequent updates that are rich in content that get posted to EHLO. This situation seems to be one of those that fell between the cracks that can sometimes appear in very large organizations, especially when it’s in a component that is shared across products.
Although Microsoft might portrait itself as a company that marches to a single beat, in reality all of the different parts such as the engineering groups function inside an ecosystem that is both competitive and subject to stress. For example, all groups have to meet ship dates at certain quality standards and fixing their own bugs to allow products to ship on time at the right level of quality creates a fair amount of pressure. I think that the IE9-MMC-Exchange bug has exposed some weakness that Microsoft management is all too aware of now. Let’s hope that they pay more attention to problems that arise in shared code in the future!