Microsoft isn’t the same company it was 10, or even 5 years ago

I was at lunch today with Chris Messina and some others from Vidoop, and somehow as often happens with me, we got into a very interesting discussion about the way Microsoft does things. In particular, Chris indicated some frustration with a lack of traction that he’s gotten with Microsoft in the past regarding technologies that he and others advocate. He cited a long string of press releases and public appearances supporting the technologies that will make up the open web and an equally long string of failures to deliver any level of support in actual code. He’s definitely right–what gives?

Being the Microsoft fanboi devil’s advocate that I am, I claimed that the Microsoft that exists today isn’t the same Microsoft as we all know from 10 years ago (or even 5). I admit that there are a tremendous number of things that Microsoft doesn’t yet demonstrate a deep organizational understanding for, including Open Source, Open Standards, the consumer Internet, etc., but the one thing that I do know from my 7.5 years with the company is that they’re nothing if not self-critical, especially when they’re not winning the game.

I challenged Chris to name some things that he thinks he’s learned about Microsoft over the last few years and give me a chance to argue that some of them have changed. He threatened graciously offered to write up a blog post with at least 5 misguided things of which he would accuse Microsoft along with examples of how they could prove him wrong by speaking with code. I think that sounds like a great idea. I can’t wait for the conversation to begin!

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