Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Microsoft's Gates Touts Blogging as Business Tool

Gates described to his audience, which included Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina, Barry Diller and other top business executives, how blogs worked and suggested that they could be used as a tool for businesses to communicate with customers.


Microsoft, which has already amassed more than 700 employee bloggers talking up its products and software in development, is embracing blogs and RSS technology because they are yet another potential threat and opportunity, said Joe Wilcox, analyst at Jupiter Research.


Instead of RSS, however, Google is also promoting a rival syndication standard called Atom.

So, we already knew that Microsoft knows about and cares about blogs. Does the fact that Bill Gates explained blogs to a bunch of people who already knew what blogs were mean anything substantive?

Scoble, can you give us the inside skinny? Is this going to turn into a Google-Atom vs. Microsoft-RSS war as the article insinuates?

via Gen Kanai


I think the second page of the Reuters article Microsoft's Gates Touts Blogging as Business Tool has it spot on:

"Since blogging, and many of the tools needed to post blogs, can work independently of Windows, they could be used to draw away from Windows-based software, similar to the threat posed by Netscape in the early days of the Internet, analysts said."

I think what this means is we'll see less and less truly independent weblogs, at least in the search results, as corporations (not just MS) encourage/commission employees to start weblogs to post favorably about their products and services (whether favorable posts are implicitly or explicitly expected doesn't really matter).

'Does the fact that Bill Gates explained blogs to a bunch of people who already knew what blogs were mean anything substantive?'

I agree with the other comments. But I'll add that many execs (and others) think they know what a blog is -- but fundamentally do not.

It's great that Blogs are taking off, but don't think it'll last for long...

I have to admit when I first read this story it struck me as funny... in the sense that Bill seems to be a few years behind the curve and is just now discovering blogs. On the other hand, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Bill comes up with a *new and improved* alternative to RSS and Atom, which will, of course, only work best on Windows computers.


I've been working with a number of teams inside Microsoft and I haven't yet seen anyone actively working in that direction. I would expose such a team publicly if I saw anyone doing such a thing.

Great discussion. One of the big questions I've seen "Is Gates/MSFT late to the party?" Maybe, maybe not. They've been late before. Often it's better to join late after everyone else is trashed. We will see. For more on this see

Most of today's most active bloggers were "late to the party," if you consider the precursors.

This is just evidence of many early adopter's observations that blogs will eventually be coopted by corporate interests. Some might argue this happened some time ago with the advent of commercial blogging products but big biz use has yet to emerge IMHO. I agree with Gile's comment that most in the corporate world may know about blogs but don't really know the whole story. I mean, how much does Warren Buffet know about blogging? Either way, you know when BG starts talking about blogs these guys will listen.