Dave's Travel
Random posts from the road...

A wasted opportunity for Microsoft and the rest of us

These days I'm using this site not just for photos, but also for multi-paragraph posts that have room for comments. This is one of those posts.

A few weeks ago I participated in a confidential briefing with about 30 other bloggers, we were shown a bunch of new software and services from Microsoft, most important -- the new search engine that was rolled out last night.

The rollout was problematic, the team didn't communicate well with the bloggers, and as a result some people didn't get a chance to talk with reporters. There's considerable discussion of this on the mail list, but Don Park chimed in this evening and said what I was thinking -- don't get distracted by the botched rollout, that would be to miss the point.

The point...

We desperately need a two-party system in search, because search is proving to be the key technology in the software platform of the future, and unless Microsoft shows up with something differentiated and competent, we're all hosed. The last thing we need is to trade one monopoly for another.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and this was it. Your competition is running circles around you and your potential developers and users are puzzled. This is a complete wasted opportunity for Microsoft.

Was there any reason at all for us to come to the briefing? There's no difference between what we said to you four weeks ago and what the public is saying about the product now. We didn't need to come from all over the world to give you our view of what you were doing, because you didn't use any of the ideas and feedback we provided. It might make sense if we had just suggested minor tweaks, but that's not what happened, and now everyone else is saying exactly the same things we said. What a waste of all our time. What a case study in organizational incompetence.

Now what would be amazing is if you regrouped and LEARNED from this, and let's get some killer features into this product, things that really disrupt the market and get people thinking that search engines could be much more than they are today. We talked about them, and for now I'm going to do you a favor and not talk about them publicly.

But before you can disrupt the market you yourselves need some disruption.

# Posted by Dave Winer on 11/11/04; 9:05:19 PM - --

Pics from Newsweek shoot

# Posted by Dave Winer on 11/11/04; 2:09:16 PM - --


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