Microsoft used to be a greatest marketing machine in software industry. But after loosing search business to Google and smartphone business to Apple and Google they lost their winning skills. It is clear now that this is also true in so called BI Market (Business Intelligence is just a marketing term). Microsoft bought ProClarity and it disappeared, they released PerformancePoint Server and it is disappearing too. They have (or had?) the best BI Stack (SQL Server 2008 R2 and its Analysis Services, Business Intelligence Development Studio 2008 (BIDS), Excel 2010, PowerPivot etc.) and they failed to release any BI or Data Visualization Product, despite having all technological pieces and components. Microsoft even released Visual Studio 2010 without any support for BIDS and recently they talked about their Roadmap for BI and again - they delayed the mentioning of BIDS 2010 and they declared NO plans for BI or DV products! Instead they are talking about "new ad hoc reporting and data visualization experience codenamed “Project Crescent”"!
And than they have a BISM model as a part of Roadmap: "A new Business Intelligence Semantic Model (BISM) in Analysis Services that will power Crescent as well as other Microsoft BI front end experiences such as Excel, Reporting Services and SharePoint Insights".
Experience and Model instead of Product? What Microsoft did with PowerPivot is clear: they gave some users the reason to upgrade to Office 2010, and as a result, Microsoft preserved and protected (for another 2 years?) their lucrative Office business but diminished their chances to get a significant pie of $11B (and growing 10% per year) BI Market. new BISM (Business Intelligence Semantic Model) is a clear sign of losing technological edge:
I have to quote (because they finally admitted that BIDS will be replaced by BISM - when "Project Juneau" will be available): "The BI Semantic Model can be authored by BI professionals in the Visual Studio 2010 environment using a new project type that will be available as part of “Project Juneau”. Juneau is an integrated development environment for all of SQL Server and subsumes the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS). When a business user creates a PowerPivot application, the model that is embedded inside the workbook is also a BI Semantic Model. When the workbook is published to SharePoint, the model is hosted inside an SSAS server and served up to other applications and services such as Excel Services, Reporting Services, etc. Since it is the same BI Semantic Model that is powering PowerPivot for Excel, PowerPivot for SharePoint and Analysis Services, it enables seamless transition of BI applications from Personal BI to Team BI to Organizational (or Professional) BI."
Funniest part of this quote above that Microsoft is honestly believe that SharePoint is not a Virus but a viable Product and it will escape the fate of its "step-brother" - PerfromancePoint Server. Sweet dreams! It is clear that Microsoft failed to understand that Data Visualization is the future of BI market and they keep recycling for themselves the obvious lie "Analysis Services is the industry leading BI platform in this space today"! Indirectly they acknowledged it in a very next statement : "With the introduction of the BI Semantic Model, there are two flavors of Analysis Services – one that runs the UDM (OLAP) model and one that runs the BISM model". Hello?
Why we need 2 BI Models instead of 1 BI product? BIDS 2008 itself is already buggy and much less productive development environment than Qlikview, Spotfire and Tableau, but now Microsoft wants us to be confused with 2 co-existing approaches: OLAP and BISM? And now get this: "you should expect to see more investment put into the BISM and less in the UDM(OLAP)"!
Dirty Harry will say in such situation: "Go ahead, make my day!" And I guess that Microsoft does not care that Apple's Market CAP is larger than Microsoft now.
Afterthought (looking at this from 2011 point of view): I am thinking now that I know why Donald Farmer left Microsoft 2 months after BISM announcement above.