Bill Gates on weblogs and RSS.
May 21, 2004 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Bill Gates on weblogs and RSS. It was inevitable, wasn't it?! Embrace and extend, baby. Embrace and extend...
posted by insomnia_lj (17 comments total)
My personal take on what Gates meant...

"Blogging is interesting for the problems it solves, but it's not easy for us to control, so we'd rather find a way to subvert it. RSS is also interesting. Not as interesting as SOAP, mind you, because SOAP is our bitch, but we're hopeful that we can find ways to make RSS our bitch too -- probably by using our software to generate invalid RSS that nobody else supports. Oh, and we won't mention ATOM because Google likes it... therefore, we do not.

We've got spyware installed on your computers and will use that information to deliver software that attempts to fulfill the basic needs of wannabe webloggers everywhere, while still being uniquely evil, buggy, and proprietary in nature."

posted by insomnia_lj at 10:30 AM on May 21, 2004

oh my GOD! he just goes on and on AND ON!
posted by scalz at 10:43 AM on May 21, 2004

And what was up with that lame Power Point presentation. I mean, the whole thing is background images.
posted by wigu at 10:47 AM on May 21, 2004

Yes, but did you know that PowerPoint does SLIDESHOWS now?
posted by Aaorn at 11:06 AM on May 21, 2004

And millions of people already own the software because it was bundled into their versions of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Office is expensive, most computers do not come with it. I imagine, if you shelled out the money for MSoffice, you knew it came with Powerpoint.

Or maybe I'm a cynic.
posted by drezdn at 11:43 AM on May 21, 2004

insomnia_lj is definitely right about their strategy. Microsoft's weblog stuff will be full of features that only work if you're also running MS software everywhere else.

On the other hand, this is the first explanation I've ever seen of what RSS and weblogs are good for that could be understood by your typical manager. You've got give MS credit for still being the best in the business at dumbing down technology so that the average user can actually take advantage of it.
posted by fuzz at 11:45 AM on May 21, 2004

My personal take on what insomnia_lj said:

"Panic, fear, misunderstanding, paranoia, etc. I hear voices..."

Avoiding jihad here, lets discuss what he actually said[*]:

I'm talking about technology advances, and how they can impact business goals that people have.

Not "here are the things I would like to have supervillian-like powers over in two weeks time." In this list, aside from a nod to blogging & RSS he mentions developments in:

64-bit CPUs, near heavy wireless, long-distance wireless, storage, trends in media transmission, RFID, cell phones, internet advertising, video games, internet security, integrated support, spam, Why Email Sucks, web-based communities, and "information visibility".

Pretty much just a laundry list of what's going on in Bill's head at any given momen includeing arenas MS clearly has no interest in actively developing (e.g. chip fab).

I mean, wow, Gates said RSS, so what? He also likely said "rye toast, bacon, eggs scrambled" this morning but I doubt we'll see MS-brand greasy spoons any time soon. So -- relax.

Its not like RSS is that wonderful a specification to begin with...

* a rare, perhaps misunderstood concept around here, but just the same...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:58 AM on May 21, 2004

Ogre, you accuse me of hearing voices, but you're the one going on about rye toast, bacon, and eggs.

I'm sorry, but last time I heard, Microsoft was primarily a software company, not a diner. Can you point out a few examples where Microsoft has talked in length about specific new pieces of publishing or communications-oriented software where Microsoft hasn't leveraged its obvious advantages to choke the marketplace?

To me, this reminds me somewhat of when Microsoft made its big push into the web, albeit Gates is a calmer, gentler manager than in the past. Their behavior hasn't changed much, but they *ARE* a bit more tactful about how they approach it.

That said, I'd like to send out a big F.U. to Ev Williams, whose new tack is saying that ATOM and RSS are the same thing.

Except, of course, that they're also incompatible. Three years from now, I bet you that Microsoft is saying the same thing about their RSS too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:14 PM on May 21, 2004

He didn't say that, insomnia_lj. He said he agreed with Winer who called ATOM "a flavor" of RSS. On the other hand, MetaFilter has a highly disproportionate number of people who publish blogs via some type of syndication, but you do realize how ridiculously childish the whole World Wide RSS vs. ATOM Smackdown sounds, don't you? I can tell you with about 99 and 44/100ths percent certainty that nobody else cares... (And no I don't care either, except to the extent that ATOM pisses Dave Winer off and Heaven knows I'm all for anything that pisses Dave Winer off)..

On topic, though, the most amazing thing about the linked article is the specification of how much money Microsoft spends on R&D annually: US$6.8 billion. No matter what you think of them, you can't say they're not putting their money where their mouth is...
posted by JollyWanker at 1:13 PM on May 21, 2004

Can you explain, and I mean this earnestly, how SOAP is Microsoft's "bitch"?
posted by yerfatma at 1:32 PM on May 21, 2004

there's an awful lot in this speech; it touches on a myriad of different, emerging technologies that--as a current and future windows user--i'm optimistic microsoft can leverage to create a more efficient, more functional, more usable computing experience. but there's not a lot of details about how microsoft plans to do that--just a bunch of marketing speak, unsurprising for a talk at something called a ceo summit--so i got bored and did a search for RSS, trying to see where the great, evil controversy is in this speech. here's the relevant section.

Another new phenomenon that connects into this is one that started outside of the business space, more in the corporate or technical enthusiast space, a thing called blogging. And a standard around that that notifies you that something has changed called RSS.

This is a very interesting thing, because whenever you want to send e-mail you always have to sit there and think who do I copy on this. There might be people who might be interested in it or might feel like if it gets forwarded to them they'll wonder why I didn't put their name on it. But, then again, I don't want to interrupt them or make them think this is some deeply profound thing that I'm saying, but they might want to know. And so, you have a tough time deciding how broadly to send it out.

Then again, if you just put information on a Web site, then people don't know to come visit that Web site, and it's very painful to keep visiting somebody's Web site and it never changes. It's very typical that a lot of the Web sites you go to that are personal in nature just eventually go completely stale and you waste time looking at it.

And so, what blogging and these notifications are about is that you make it very easy to write something that you can think of, like an e-mail, but it goes up onto a Web site. And then people who care about that get a little notification. And so, for example, if you care about dozens of people whenever they write about a certain topic, you can have that notification come into your Inbox and it will be in a different folder and so only when you're interested in browsing about that topic do you go in and follow those, and it doesn't interfere with your normal Inbox.

And so if I do a trip report, say, and put that in a blog format, then all the employees at Microsoft who really want to look at that and who have keywords that connect to it or even people outside, they can find the information.

And so, getting away from the drawbacks of e-mail -- that it's too imposing -- and yet the drawbacks of the Web site -- that you don't know if there's something new and interesting there -- this is about solving that.

The ultimate idea is that you should get the information you want when you want it, and we're progressively getting better and better at that by watching your behavior, ranking things in different ways.

what mr. gates is getting at is that RSS is an effective way of collating and distributing information because of the way it combines web publication with personal notification. that gates would be interested in such approaches should come as no surprise: better methods towards organizing and searching data are the order of the day; microsoft is putting quite a few eggs in their WinFS basket. (WinFS is the next-generation windows filesystem that promises to grant the searchability of a database to a PC's filesystem.) google is targeting much the same goal with their gmail service.

where's the suggestion that microsoft will--or is even interested in--"embracing and extending" RSS, or weblogs, or anything of the sort? i don't see it. what a disappointing fpp; as i said, there's a lot to talk about in this speech, whether you like microsoft or you hate them, and the only thing you could pick out was a scant mention of RSS, and spin it into yet another boring, uninteresting attack on evil big brother microsoft? give me a break.
posted by kjh at 2:50 PM on May 21, 2004

Searching Google for atom vs rss returns 116,000 hits. I didn't know anything about either concept before reading this post, but now I'm equipped to join the holy wars. Long live RSS! Die, you filthy Atom scum! Or the other way around.
posted by Triplanetary at 2:54 PM on May 21, 2004

Triplanetary, you will suffer for your heretical words against the one true faith of (RSS/Atom)! Only those who are pure and have no dealings with the evil (Atom/RSS) will be saved!
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:34 PM on May 21, 2004

includeing arenas MS clearly has no interest in actively developing (e.g. chip fab).

Oh they're interested in fab alright. They're about to be very big customers. What with them finally* getting the benefits of a custom CPU in a video game console.

*like, $1 billion per year later.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:42 PM on May 21, 2004

I guess I should kill both my RSS and Atom feeds then?
posted by Samizdata at 1:31 AM on May 22, 2004

...the most amazing thing about the linked article is the specification of how much money Microsoft spends on R&D annually: US$6.8 billion.

And what is all this research and development getting us?
posted by Termite at 2:55 AM on May 22, 2004

A popup blocker in the new version of IE! Wooho... wait, never mind.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:59 AM on May 22, 2004

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