The Microsoft Imprimatur

June 24, 2005

Social Networking, Technology

As we have all been suspecting, Microsoft is going to unleash a whole lot of things at Gnomedex. Yesterday, Microsoft released a new beta of its AntiSpyware software. I’ve installed it on all of my Windows systems. And it seems to be working great. But more software and more news will be upon us shortly. Robert has hinted that an “across-the-board” sweep of RSS and tagging functionality will be announced today.

I, for one, can’t wait. Many of you will quibble with Microsoft on matters of technical merit. And those quibbles might becomes anguished wails when it comes to Microsoft’s aggressiveness (usually at the expense of others). But few would argue with one simple fact: when Microosft gets on board with a particular technology, then that technology has received the virtual papal imprimatur. Up until now, Microsoft has been tacitly involved in both RSS and tagging. Microsoft has sat by while Apple has stormed many beaches (or will shortly with iTunes 4.9). With today’s announcments from Microsoft, I expect a whole lote of “cool tech” will become part of the mainstream.

Of course, much of my speculation is dependent upon the means by which these features will be distributed. If Microsoft offers RSS and tagging features as purchasable upgrades to exisitng products, then it will take the next PC purchase cycle (i.e., the next couple of years) to make these features ubiquitous. But if these features are integrated into existing versions (via service packs???) and available via Windows Update, then these capabilities will become ubiquitous in a very short time.

So the gauntlet is now thrown down. Which big company can bring cool new features to the forefront faster. WIll Microsoft bring RSS and tagging to the masses first or will Apple bring podcasting to the masses first. This should be an interesting lesson in channel management.




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