In my opinion, and agreeing with Kevin, Microsoft actually shows an absolutely amazing ability to develop, test, and deliver software of mind boggling complexity to a huge user base. They run unbelievably large scale beta tests, they support remarkable variety of hardware and software configurations, being run by every possible kind of customer, geography and user.
IMHO there is no other organization on the planet that has this capability.
Ok? But I have to take issue, in a big way, with this claim in Kevin's post:
"Other Microsoft products, like Money and Encarta, ship on an annual basis and hit those deadlines like clockwork."
As many users of Microsoft Money will attest, the annual, clockwork releases are a farce to extract more cash out of people (like me) who fall into the trap of buying the upgrade.
Why do I keep falling into that trap myself? I really rely on Microsoft Money. I run my life on it. After receiving enough reminders that there's a new version out with bug fixes and new features I finally decide to go for it, and almost always regret it. It's called the triumph of hope over experience...
Invariably there are very minor feature improvements, and often new horrible, data corrupting bugs.
I bet the Microsoft Money team is tiny, which is why it is the most profitable, percentage wise, product Microsoft has.