"I just spent a half-week at Microsoft, jammed full of meetings and ideas and brilliance, more of my energy and intelligence was used in these 2.5 days than usually is used in a full month of my time. In my experience, this only happens at Microsoft. I don't know why. Harvard is not so intense, Silicon Valley pushed me very far away; when I used to visit IBM in the 80s they would put me in a hermetically sealed room in Boca Raton and people would fly from Texas and California to meet with me."
Yes yes, all well and good. Now Microsoft needs to release some cool enhancements... And not just any enhancements, something cool and different. Heck, even a speed up of the hotmail interface and message display would be cool!
We are talking about web technologies here. How hard is it to setup a few servers (with the budget MSN probably has, how about a couple of hundred servers), put your beta software on it and start letting people see it. Then once its stable, and reliable phase it in to your stable service. Lets take hotmail. How about introducing a new interface that people can test? Something like Gmail beta. Why would Microsoft want to do this? To keep in the game. To keep people in Microsoft happy, since they will be able to see the cool things happening within Microsoft, and will want to be part of it. The consumers in the market will not see Microsoft as a huge big hulking dinosaur that can't compete with its smaller, nimbler and fresher competitors. Stop being scared of introducing new features, and remove the processes that slow down the introduction to new features. Obviously things can go very wrong if they dont do this right? So make these changes carefully. However, if they dont make these changes, things will definitely go extremely wrong.
Why do I care? My career is IT. And at the moment the IT eco system is flourishing. Competition is good. Hence, I want Microsoft to come up with solutions, together with Google, Yahoo, Adobe/Macromedia, Open Source software, Free Software, Shareware software, Independant Developers software. I want small companies like Skype, Six Apart and Technorati to flourish. Its healthy, and ideas flow in such an environment. I want cool people like Jon Udell to keep coming up with wonderful ideas and beautifully written/researched articles. I want Dave Winer to fight, argue and diss people of as he spreads the meme's for wonderful technologies he helped develop.
Technorati: Microsoft IT