Niall Kennedy, the RSS guy at Microsoft (since April 2006 anyway), has announced he's leaving Microsoft. One passage in particular from his blog post caught my attention:
"Windows Live is under some heavy change, reorganization, pullback, and general paralysis and unfortunately my ability to perform, hire, and execute was completely frozen as well."
Huh? I thought Windows Live was Microsoft's big high priority push into the web-based world! Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie seemed to be doing anything but 'pulling back' in his July 27 speech at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting 2006. And I quote from Ozzie:
"The services offered up by the Windows Live platform are available to Web sites and also to client applications and also to mobile applications. And this is key to our strategy. Because it's our aspiration to create seamless Web, desktop and mobile experiences for all activities relevant to users and customers in all our markets.
And our model for doing so is to use our Windows Live services platform as an experience hub, and to use the PC, the browser and mobile devices as different experience-delivery mechanisms for the value we aspire to deliver.
In other words, Microsoft is using Windows Live as a hub to bring it all together."
So Windows Live is supposed to be the hub for Microsoft's entire product line, going forward. Yet Niall implies that this grand vision is being pulled back. Of course he may just be expressing frustration at his own small team's lack of resources. I'm sure Ray Ozzie still thinks the Windows Live vision is continuing at a good pace.
Interesting to read the reaction of Mini-Microsoft, the often highly critical anonymous Microsoft employee blogger:
"...does this show a revealing shift that all that Live stuff we yanked out of the plucky start.com as a grand, confusing rebranding effort is taking a moment to pause and figure life out? Did we wake up from the Live-demo-bender, rub our face and shake our head, and ask, "What the hell was I thinking?
A compelling vision would be great right about now. And not a dorky wired-up clipboard that has seemed to have dematerialized. A vision around making money and doing things that, if I told people sucking on a Frappuccino about, they'd say, "Oooh, that's cool. When can I do that?" And if someone is talented and motivated to get things done, how do you unblock them to make it so?"
Ah, wasn't Ray Ozzie's speech a "compelling vision"? I certainly thought so. But then I don't have the advantage of knowing what's going on in-house, as Mini-Microsoft does.
However another Microsoft blogger, Dare Obasanjo, says that some of Niall's post may be misleading:
"I sympathize with his reasons for leaving although some of what he wrote is inaccurate and based on speculation rather than the actual facts of the matter."
From an outsider's point of view, I hope Windows Live continues to get rolled out according to Ozzie's plan. They're catching up with the likes of Google and Yahoo as is, so any "paralysis" or pulling back of that vision would be most unfortunate.