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Thursday, November 24, 2005

SSE breaks in the clogosphere

Sometimes a corporate blog is a fantastic marketing tool. Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie's post on Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE) is an example of a perfectly-timed execution of clog brilliance.

Following Microsoft's announcements at the beginning of the month around Windows Live, heralding the beginning of on-demand software delivery and the classically cagey software behemoth's voyage into cuddly open-source friendliness, Ozzie's news was timely indeed.

As the excitement waned, up pops His Ozzieness allegedly spilling the beans on a half-baked idea. "One of the great things about once again having an active blog is that it enables me to engage in discussion about concepts I’m excited about, and that I’m working on, before they're fully-baked and while they could benefit from others’ involvement," he says. Aw, sweet.

I don't deny that SSE is a great idea. Using RSS-style information sharing is a perfect accompaniment to web-based software delivery. I, and everyone else, can see it's a fine plan.

But since when did companies, and Microsoft in particular, suddenly start releasing ideas before they are fully rounded? A half-baked idea? I don't buy it.

Sorry, but this is corporate blogging, a-list style. People are buying into Microsoft's new open source image and there was a dip in coverage for a day. Up steps Ozzie - it could just as well have been Scoble but he got gazumped this time - to fill the hole. The fact the news was released on a blog meant the developers picked up on it quickly, thinking they were sharing a secret with one of their own. The press picked it up a day or so late by the time the momentum had gathered and all the while, the blogosphere buzzed.

I don't believe this wasn't planned by marketers. It's too perfect, too slick. The fact the SSE standard was already finalised, licenced and released suggests there is much more at play behind the scenes.

I guess you've just got to be a bit more careful who you trust.

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