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Where'd Azure workflow go?

A week before the expected roll out of the Microsoft Azure cloud services price and sales model, Microsoft has pulled back a key component service. A developer who had been working with Azure Workflow services could no longer access them as of yesterday and Microsoft says that the services will now be held up so they can support .NET 4.0.

More info here from Murray Goldman’s blog.

As far as I know, and God knows it’s near impossible follow all these release dates, .Net 4.0 has been out in beta form since this spring and is due in the Visual Studio 2010 timeframe. But here’s the deal. If a developer is playing with early versions of services in hopes of rolling out some real deliverables, this kind of stuff doesn’t fly.

This guy–a Microsoft Gold partner by the way–is doing most of his e-commerce work with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Still,  he likes to keep up with what Microsoft is doing. So far, he’s not impressed. Microsoft does not “get” that putting stuff out there and then pulling it back is a non-starter. Or that all of its myriad technology interdependencies are huge pain in the butt.

Asked what Microsoft can do in terms of pricing and sales model to get him into Azure, he said: “Learn how the new world works. You can’t be locked into this old view of months and years between updates. And you can’t pull back stuff and expect people to work on it.”

Next week, Microsoft will have to face an army of VARs and other channel players at its Worldwide Partner Conference and convince them to cast their lot with Microsoft’s still-new, and sometimes disappearing services, vs. going with Amazon or perhaps even Google infrastructure. And it has to show them a way to make money doing so. That is a very tall order.

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