Microsoft Live Release

Today’s big announcement from Microsoft, among some othertidbits, was the demo and public release of a beta of Microsoft Live, which you can of courseread Scoble busting a vein about. I would love to say that it’sremarkable, but it doesn’t seem to be – At first glance it barelydiffers from the whole Excite @ Home portal concept that hit thefloor with a thud 6 years ago. It looks like Excite (@)Home + a greatly scaled down version of Konfabulator in alimited, IE-only, heavyweight shell.

Portals are dead, and if this is the great revolution Microsoftcan deliver, then Microsoft truly is in serious trouble. Microsofthas done some amazing things, and they have a lot ofamazing people, so when they’re doing a supposedly hugestrategy shift to take on Google it should beextraordinary. It shouldn’t leave yousearching around trying to find where the good stuff is hidden.Weak excuses that they “can’t show the best stuff yet…you justwait!” rightfully raises the B.S. detectors of most grizzledsoftware development vets (because we’ve used that lame excuse whenwe’ve under-delivered)

Of course, as is standard for these sorts of things, Microsoftis also trying to get the community to create the content via acheap-labour contest (which Google has been a great exploiter of) -Expend the effort and trouble to add to their somewhat weak launchlist of “gadgets” and you too could be entered into a draw to win an XBox 360! Woo! I’m always amazedat how cheap such firms can be about an element of their strategythat is so enormously critical.

Microsoft biggest announcement today was vapour, and “comingsoon” betas. What a disaster (it isn’t that it’s a terriblesolution that they’ve built, but rather that it’s just sounderwhelming coming from the largest, most powerful softwarecompany in the world. Expectations are so much higher, especiallygiven the emphasis put on this strategy). I’ll reiterate that2006won’t be the year for Microsoft (and I’m a Microdroid by someaccounts).