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Google and Microsoft: A tale of two support perceptions

Google, known for killing off products, is working to back on that perception.

Quoting Protocol:

Starting Monday, Google will designate a subset of APIs across the company as Google Enterprise APIs, including APIs from Google Cloud, Google Workspace and Google Maps. APIs selected for this category — which will include “a majority” of Google Cloud APIs according to Kripa Krishnan, vice president at Google Cloud — will be subject to strict guidelines regarding any changes that could affect customer software built around those APIs.

The announcement is clear recognition of widespread feedback from Google Cloud customers and outright derision in several corners of the internet regarding Google’s historic reputation for ending support for its APIs without sufficient notice or foresight. 

Three principles, quoting ZDNet:

First, the Enterprise APIs are governed by the principle that no feature may be removed (or changed in a way that is not backwards compatible) for as long as customers are actively using it. 

Second, customers will receive a minimum of one year’s notice of an impending change

Lastly, any change Google introduces to an API will be reviewed by a centralized board of product and engineering leads and will follow a rigorous product lifecycle evaluation.

And this week, Microsoft has announced a new support plan for Windows Server. The company is dropping its Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel in favor of a model with only Long Term Servicing Channel releases of the operating system.  This will include 10 years of support, with five mainstream and five extended.  

Earlier this year, Microsoft made a chance in the servicing plans for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC and Office LTSC, making support 5 years total for those products rather than 10.  

Azure is an exception.  There will still be SAC releases on Azure Stack HCI.

Why do we care?

Actions over time are what generate a reputation, and Google certainly earned theirs.     The website killedbygoogle.com is your evidence.    

Microsoft is the other end of this spectrum – they’re well known for declaring the entire lifecycle of their products as they are released, and thus have a reputation for the dependability.

Making promises up front and sticking to them is how you build a reputation for reliability.  If that’s your goal, that’s my insight here.  

It’s also notable for Google partners there are now documented promises to hold them to.