Indeed, some questions must be raised and some answers must be looked for. My main concern was that it's difficult to understand how Microsoft could allow such a major public failure to happen without trying to resolve the problem — no matter the cost — and make sure such a wildly advertised project doesn't blow up on their face.
So the assumption can be made that Microsoft probably did their best to solve the problem but that they didn't achieve.
Two reasons seem likely in my opinion. First, Microsoft probably doesn't have enough workforce based in the UK, and so they had to either send people from the US and/or rely on consultancies/business partners. This idea brings the second reason: the project was lead by Accenture, a major consultancy firm and hence they should have had all the workforce required to solve the problem, one might think.
So while I believe the failure resulted from a mixture of both the reasons, I am more than convinced that the major drag was the fact that project was outsourced to Accenture. Why? Because in my opinion the .Net platform is a very capable one and second because I have many friends who work in various consultancies and the trend is very clear in these companies. I might be wrong on both accounts, but some Googling done by a friend confirmed what my friends told me :
[quote from a post] I worked for Accenture in one of the "delivery centres" in the Eastern Europe and it was total crap. They hired 1st and 2nd year students for peanuts, and sold them as professionals to rich foreign companies. The turnover of staff was about a third - after one learned something, it was best to get out of there as soon as possible. From the posts on the glassdoor i can infer that this is the strategy accenture employs worldwide.So my conclusion is that this is an Accenture blow-up but that it is Microsoft which is going to carry the shame and the blame... Again, I might be wrong. Should you have opinion/additional information, please do not hesitate to share.
[another post] Accenture's usual technique is to hire students or recent graduates from technical fields, who are reasonably capable in programming and computer science but know absolutely nothing about the consulting problems at hand or the software platforms which they use. Accenture gives them a weekend's notice before allocating them in real world projects they were not trained to do. These employees are overworked, underpaid, deliver substandard services and most end up quitting after one or two years. The few who don't quit and aren't complete morons get promoted.
[Yet another one] I have to side with the "accenture is worse than incompetent" crowd.
I know of one project they worked on for the University of Minnesota redoing their financial system that they fucked up completely. I've a friend who was in the periphery of the project (he knew some of the key developers) and saw it all coming. They hire monkeys to produce documentation, and produce complete garbage code. They actually had to fire some people because they discovered they were never at their desk, but produced code. It was discovered they contracted their own jobs out to someone in India to do.
I also know someone who had to work with the "finished" product when it was first roled out, and it was a complete train wreck. (Think magic formulas and tea leaves to get what you need done). It's still largely a train wreck a year later, people have just gotten used to the train wreck.