Microsoft embraces the Blog

By Steve Gillmor  |  Posted 2003-11-20 Print this article Print

Take the recent turmoil in the blogosphere about Microsofts prospective move away from some Web standards in Longhorn. When former Microsoftee (and current BEA VP) Adam Bosworth blogged misgivings about Microsoft routing around the Internet through a proprietary set of XML interfaces, I asked for a quick interview. He begged off, replying, "The blog was/is very liberating because I can publish at will." Later, he reconsidered his position, blogging that he was going to look more into it, When he finally returned to his series of posts on the development of a new Web services browser this week, he paused briefly to report the results of his research. The net: a measured and uniquely informed opinion that a) Longhorn is not likely to be pervasive any time soon, and b) hes not going to worry about it. He does suggest Kevin Lynch, Macromedias Chief Software Architect and another blogger, might.
Readers of a Big Media book on Microsoft, Breaking Windows, by the Wall Street Journals David Bank, will recognize Bosworth as the tactical genius behind Microsofts ultimate bet on XML. They would likely intuit that Bosworth is well aware of both the impact of his words, and the strategic value of the blogosphere. And I am not less informed, either as a journalist looking for a good story, or as a citizen of the Net ecology concerned about the effects of market force power politics.
"Perseus thinks that most blogs have an audience of about 12 readers," Dvorak argues. Yes, John, but who are those 12? If one of them is Bill Gates, and another is Tony Scott, CTO of General Motors, and another is John Cleese, well you get the idea. Sometimes its who you know as much as what. RSS only amplifies this, allowing a Ray Ozzie to post only when its valuable to him and his readers. Its "Youve got blog." I could take Dvoraks post apart line by line, because of course it is a post in blog space. Sure, its gone through the filter of "a stern corporate editor" but so has mine and every single blog post Ive ever written. Sometimes Im the editor too, other times Im not. But always Im trying the best I can to use the right words at the right time to tip the balance in favor of information, perhaps knowledge, and hopefully insight. "Its no coincidence that the most-read blogs are created by professional writers," Dvorak warns. And this: "So much for the independent thinking and reporting that are supposed to earmark blog journalism." Heres a test you can try at home: take the word blog out of the last quote. By the way, this column can be accessed by an RSS feed. John, wheres yours?Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.

Johns RSS feed can be found at And Im not all that stern. -- Editor

Steve Gillmor is editor of's Messaging & Collaboration Center. As a principal reviewer at Byte magazine, Gillmor covered areas including Visual Basic, NT open systems, Lotus Notes and other collaborative software systems. After stints as a contributing editor at InformationWeek Labs, editor in chief at Enterprise Development Magazine, editor in chief and editorial director at XML and Java Pro Magazines, he joined InfoWorld as test center director and columnist.

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