β˜… Gnomedex: Does Microsoft subscribe to RSS?

Dean's Hachamovitch from MS. Coupla good laughs early. Good work. Like the artist's rendering of Microsoft's campus (it's the Death Start II). Funny ha-ha. Maybe Microsoft understands how they're viewed in the world and have a healthy sense of humor about it. Maybe. Maybe it just kind of looks that way.

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We're the first public audience to see IE 7. First impressions: it looks a lot like Firefox. Of course, it's not finished yet. Things will move around. Really, how original can you get with a browser?

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So IE can automatically sniff RSS and view it in the browser. Their RSS view looks EXACTLY like Safari's. Hmmmm...

Maybe I'm being a little unfair, but what these guys are talking isn't that big a deal. I'm doing the same stuff on the Mac and I'm doing it now, not at the end of 2006.

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So here's the key insight from Microsoft. All applications should natively understand what a "subscription" means and know how to deal with it. I think this is right on. Downloading will be done at the platform level, meaning applications will make a call to the built-in downloading service to get feeds, enclosures, etc. Applications will dip into this pool, or stream, of data. To the user, it's a seamless experience. Very cool.

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There's a little hostility towards the MS guys from the crowd, particularly from one Mac guy. I don't think contention is the right tactic to engage the MS guy, but there is a little bit of an attitude that's being presented by MS that they're doing something really cool and forward-thinking, when it looks to many of us that they're really just catching up. I think the hostility might be coming from the attitude that they're telling us something new.

Here's the problem: Microsoft looks like they're not really aware of what state of the art technology looks like. They look like they're behind the curve. They'd be better off, in my opinion, acknowledging what's already available to bleeding edge techno-nerds, and start explaining how they're going to make it bigger, better, and available to more folks.

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MS will be making their RSS extension specs available under Creative Commons. Very, very cool.

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Note to Dean, if, as you said, you're interested in starting conversations, you're going to have to participate in them, not shut down people who are poking at you. You look defensive. Not that I'd want to be up there in your place, but you have to recognize that the hostility is part of the conversation. You can't just pretend it will go away. You have to listen deeply, figure out what people are hostile about, and respond to that. You're shutting people down, but you need these folks, at the end of the day, to work with you.

Microsoft has a PR problem. In terms of how they're presenting themselves to their public, they're trotting out these scrubbed, clean-cut, Disney-esque, passive-agressive pretty boys to sell their products (and I think that this is kind of they way they act in the world -- clean cut, coy, but they might just pull a fast one on you.) What they need is a fighter, a passionate advocate. Someone who thrives in the hostility, can see the other side, and can really engage.

They need to clone Scoble.

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Steve Rubel says, "This is Embrace and Extend Lite (tm)." In other words, it's a good start, but we're not convinced.

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