Microsoft: we have a (patching) problem

by Ed Sparks

Since Microsoft created (and mostly perfected) Windows, and then Microsoft Update years ago, followed by standardizing on the now legendary Patch Tuesdays, Enterprise has been able to rely on consistent and quality monthly patches.

Sadly, this appears to have gone off the rails badly in the past few months.  As Exchange consultants we had clearly noted this with a number of Cumulative Updates for the past year or two that were getting released, promptly making a mess of things, and being pulled and re-released sometimes two and three times.  When we're talking software that supports large corporate installations, this has been concerning and unacceptable.  Now the rot appears to have spread across the company.  Clearly the resource shuffling, and loss of many long-term staff at Microsoft is hitting home.  Not only does this make for a tremendous amount of testing and re-work when things go bad, it undermines the years of hard-earned trust in the company very quickly.

We've been complaining for a while, but a recent quick search of the internet shows the wider community is now beating this drum as well.

This has even culminated in an open letter to (thankfully finally  ousted) Steve Ballmer by Susan Bradley of

"On behalf of everyone in this community, may I respectfully request that you assign someone in a management position to investigate what is going on with quality control with patch testing lately?" 
"This month in particular leaves me deeply disturbed that issues that should have been found before these updates were released are being found by us - your customers - after they are released and we are having to deal with the aftermath,"
"Bottom line, sir, this is unacceptable to all of us in the patching community, and quite frankly, it should be just as unacceptable to you."

Here's just a sample of the growing chorus of discontent: