Gary Menger, president and founder of Applied Geographic Solutions, says that despite its size and experience, Microsoft entered uncharted waters when it entered the desktop mapping industry.
Mapping is a tricky business.Almost every other Microsoft application does not need data when it ships. Start Word and you get a blank screen.Start Access and you get a blank screen.Start MapPoint and you damn well better not get a blank screen.*
This is an entirely different pond from what Microsoft normally swims in.The users who can benefit from the technology expect sophistication, but the target user absolutely requires simplicity.I've not seen too many pieces of software which do both well.
On the other hand, if you are sleeping with an elephant and it rolls over..
* Directions' Dan O'Brien reports that MapPoint opens with a fully-navigable map of the United States.