The 10 Biggest Microsoft Surprises of 2005

Opinion: What were the most surprising Microsoft moments in 2005? Here's our list. What juicy items did we miss? (Microsoft Watch)

So many Top 10 lists, so little time. And when your beat is Microsoft, the Top 10 options are as numerous (albeit, only sometimes as humorous) as David Lettermans.

Here at Microsoft Watch, it was a tough choice. Should it be "Top 10 Reasons Microsoft Is Still a Monopoly"? Or the "Top 10 Hires Microsoft Made in 2005"? (Too hard.) The "Top 10 Most Important Microsoft Defectors"? (Easier.) "Top 10 Justifications for Throwing Caution to the Wind by Continuing to Use Internet Explorer"? Or maybe "Top 10 Odes to .Net Developers"?

In the end, we chose the more well-traveled "year in review" path—but with a twist. We opted to itemize the 10 Microsoft-specific developments that gave us the biggest jolt in 2005. (And having watched Microsoft for more than a decade, this Microsoft Watcher doesnt surprise easily.)

In no particular order, heres our list:

1. IE rises from the dead: After insisting that Internet Explorer was an inextricable part of Windows, Microsoft abruptly changed course and decided to develop and deliver a new stand-alone version of its browser, after all. Nothing like a little competition to open new doors (and windows).

2. MS "gets" RSS: While some folks were less than overjoyed that Microsoft was tinkering with the "little orange RSS box," Microsoft ended up looking like a company with a clue when it came to outlining its companywide RSS strategy in 2005.

RSS support will be built into not just Internet Explorer 7.0, but also Outlook 12 and Windows Vista itself. Almost all Microsoft Weblogs and sites have RSS feeds now. RSS is gospel in Redmond these days.

3. WinFS bits go out early: For some strange reason, the Redmondians refused to admit they shipped the Beta 1 bits for WinFS (the Windows File System) earlier than they originally said they would.

Microsoft maintained that WinFS Beta 1 was right on time. On time or early, we were stunned when the actual code debuted in late August.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead the full story on Microsoft Watch: The 10 Biggest Microsoft Surprises of 2005

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.