Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Tuesday, May 27, 2003

You anti-Microsoft'ers will love this: the power went out for about half a second today. I heard several obscenities and soft-drink consumption went way up in the five minutes after the power outage as machines were being rebooted. Yet another reminder to save, and save often. Luckily I was just doing email and Outlook automatically saves.

Chris Pirillo showed me some new RSS feeds from message boards. Hmm, that gives me some ideas for the PDC communities.

Well, in October at the PDC Microsoft will answer the question raised yesterday. Why so late? Cause I don't see how to answer the question without either setting expectations and not being able to explain them, or breaking an NDA that'll get me fired. I like my job. I also don't want to make my evangelism job harder. So, I'm gonna take a pass. I know that'll create some expectations too. So, I'll just leave you with this:

I joined Microsoft because I thought the next version of Windows rocks. Since I use Internet technologies several hours of every day, you can infer that I like the direction that Microsoft has gone.

Oh, and I've learned, there still is a team or two or ... working on Internet stuff at Microsoft.

Which, brings up my next point. Why is there a belief that team size means innovation (or being considered "dead or alive")?

Look at the weblogging industry. UserLand: three to seven people. Pyra: three or so people. MoveableType: two or so people. The entire weblogging industry is being done by, what, 20 people?

In fact, some of the best stuff in this industry has been done by one or two people. Just a datapoint I think is interesting in this "is XYZ technology dead?" discussion.

Oh, and John at Macromedia had the best advice for evangelists I've gotten so far. Stay quiet in these "is such and such technology dead" discussions.

But, what the heck, I've never been known to be quiet, have I?

I'm off to go to work now, but one thing first. All of you who are asking "is IE dead?" are asking the wrong question.

The right question is: "is the Web dead in Longhorn?"

In the latest builds of Longhorn, Google still works just fine. Does that answer that question?

DonXML (not Don Box): "[IE] is as dead as COM."

Dave Winer: "Who will pay for software, part II."

His two rants on the subject are interesting for the entire industry to see. Somewhere along the line a whole group of people started believing that software (and all "virtual" endeavors) should be free.

I think it's because we put value on things we can hold and touch. A hotel, for instance, is made out of steel, wood, plastic. We know those things have value. They cost something to make. So, when we rent a room we don't think twice about paying $100 or more for just the right to use the room for an evening. We don't bitch about the fact that we don't own that room. We don't gripe that they are charging too much (well, sometimes we might, but then we know there's plenty of competitors we can go to)

But, when it comes to software, or even content (like this weblog), we expect it to be free. But, we don't see that we are paying a price for that.

This weblog isn't as good as if I were able to make a living at it. I only spend an hour or two on it a day. Imagine if I had all day to spend on it, every day? It certainly would be better. But, society doesn't value this. So, no one will offer me money to do it.

Even inside Microsoft, this has an effect. Consumer oriented software has a hard time getting any investment inside Microsoft. I've heard the question "how will you make money doing that?" several times in the first two weeks. If no one can answer, the project being proposed doesn't get funded. Doesn't get done.

In fact, if you want your software improved, the first thing you should do is show that there's a business. Show that you're willing to pay for it. That's one reason that Windows and Office are getting improved (despite rumors to the contrary, Office 2003 and Windows Server 2003 are a lot better than older versions).

Anyway, kudos to Dave for taking a controversial and unpopular stance.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 2:33:32 AM.