"Steve Ballmer has accidentally revealed the real reason for
Microsoft's $1 billion joint venture with Andersen Consulting,
which is being called Avanade."
"He says it's all to do with competing with IBM Global Services,
Sun and Oracle in the services business, and was quoted by Reuters
as saying that: 'We've never been able to form a partnership to
serve this market super, super well.' "
"There's a disturbing dimension to the Andersen deal,
and indeed more generally with relationships between vendors and
consultancy firms. Although we have no reason to doubt the
integrity of the consultants concerned, the closeness of the
embrace with a vendor, and the probable absence of any advocacy of
alternative software, will for many people destroy the
credibility of the consulting firm as being able to offer
independent advice. The consultancy becomes a sales agent of
the vendor, and gets to offer services in addition."