Well, here is one post that I really wish I had comments working since I think there could potentially be some interesting feedback from all three SlickThought.Net readers. But alas, I am in the middle of a site coding update that will include said feature this holiday season, but I still want to post in the interim. Oh well. Email me
if you have some feedback and I will post all of the responses in a new entry.
makes some comments about open sourcing Windows Media and trying to make Microsoft cool. This picked up a lot of interest, but one comment in particular struck a chord with me. Mini-Microsoft
has a lot of interesting takes on a lot of topics, but I have to disagree with him on this one. As a side note, I agree with quite a few of his views on Microsoft - not all, but a lot.
Anyway, the gist of Scoble, MiniMSFT, and others is how Microsoft needs to be cool. Now this is an interesting notion. Back in the early '90s, as Microsoft was starting to make its first real push into enterprise computing, the Microsoft field (folks like myself) lamented the missteps of the company in corporate IT by using the phrase - "Once a consumer company, always a consumer company". The basic point was that if Microsoft wanted to be successful in the enterprise, it needed to quit thinking like the company that created Microsoft Bob (ughghghg).
So now, apparently, many think that that transformation is complete. Microsoft has gone the way of IBM and become a boring, enterprise company. And in many regards, I think they are right. Microsoft is not cool to the general populace, and perhaps outside of the developer ranks, it is not cool in IT either (and maybe its not as cool as it likes to think in the developer community either). So my fundamental question is... is that a bad thing?
I think the answer really depends on what Microsoft wants to be, and that I think is the real problem. Microsoft has some really cool ideas for the consumer space - Windows Media Center, Windows Media in general, MSN, etc. However, I strongly suspect that the true innovation is held hostage to the larger vision of Microsoft wanting to be all things to all people. How much of the digital convergence in the living room via Media Center is being delayed because of Longhorn? I suspect it is significant since there is no reason that that product does not do more with what is a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, their current product still lags behind what I can get from Tivo and that box will not be leaving my living room anytime soon. And believe me; it kills me to have a Linux box in my house doing something I know Media Center should be doing (nothing against Linux).
As Microsoft has focused more and more on the enterprise, less and less attention has been paid on the consumer area. Maybe I am just missing the innovation and marketing but I am a consumer as well, along with family members, and there does not seem to be a lot of buzz out there. Of course, the money is in the enterprise, and to keep the whole engine chugging that market needs to be exploited.
I think Scoble absolutely gets it wrong by saying open sourcing a product makes it cool. Sure, it lets people see what you are doing, but iPod is cool and it is clearly not open source. Consumers care less about open source. Its about feature, function, and innovation. Can Microsoft be cool? And to whom can it be cool? Those are good questions, but I think you cannot have two masters and trying to be cool to both consumers and the enterprise (which really has a different definition of cool) is impossible as long as both sides of the house are tied to some grand unified strategy.