The Register: Storm over MS bid to bounce MSCEs into Win2k

“Microsoft’s current treatment of its MCSEs (certified systems
engineers) shows just how fundamental are the problems faced by the
company with Windows 2000. Microsoft is trying to pressure MCSEs
who have taken the NT4 exam to take a combined Windows 2000 exam,
code-numbered 70-240, before they might otherwise choose to do

“The reasons for Microsoft’s behaviour are pretty transparent:
very few enterprises – and most independent industry analysts like
Gartner support this – are prepared to risk their business by
adopting Windows 2000 to soon. Memories of what happened to some
prominent businesses that were early adopters of Windows NT are
still sharp enough: NatWest, which had disastrous experiences with
NT in its insurance business integration as well as its retail
banking, has been gobbled up by the Royal Bank of Scotland – a
prominent IBM account. Somerfield, the UK supermarket chain, was
another NT advocate, has fallen on very hard times and has been let
down by its IT.”

“The trick that Microsoft has used is to make examination 70-240
free, but only to allow people to try it once. The reason is
transparently clear: 70-240 combines four examinations, and if a
candidate fails just once, it will be necessary to take all four
examinations, and to pay for taking each of them. This naturally
has the effect of making candidates for 70-240 prepare more
thoroughly, and if they pass, they are likely to get a job where
Windows 2000 is being used. Furthermore, in order to dry up the
supply of NT4 MCSEs, Microsoft is withdrawing the exams, without
having given adequate notice to those doing them.”

“Microsoft thought that in its MCSE system it had the
perfect way of making MCSEs into indentured servants
: making
them pay handsomely to keep up-to-date. But there’s a refreshing
amount of independence in the comments they have made on
coriolis.com, and it seems possible that quite a few will leave
the rat race and be looking to Novell, Unix and of course Linux, in
the future.”