Daily Archives: January 3, 2006

Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo?

Mary Jo Foley is reporting speculation that Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo.

Well, I did tell BillG to buy Flickr…

Anyone else got some speculation to get out? Dang, next you’ll tell me that Google’s making a PC (oh, wait, that one is already getting denied) or something like that and Apple’s making a Media Center. ;-)

Oh, it’s going to be a fun week. The rumors always get wild right before CES and MacWorld.

Seriously, I don’t know about any Yahoo purchase and if I did I’d probably be taped to a tree here in Redmond with an extra roll around my mouth. :-)

Followup to Chinese thing, off to CES

Working in a big company is interesting cause there are lots of moving parts. Tracking them all down is difficult, especially when you have a full day of meetings and other things to do and when the stakeholders of the decision you’re trying to find out about are on the other side of the world in a time zone opposite of ours.

Blogger time isn’t that easy to live with when you work in a big company. That’s not an excuse, but just a fact. Already there are plenty of people who took me to task for reacting like a blogger and not waiting until I had checked with all the parties. Truth is this thing was going supernova already (it was on Instapundit before I even knew about it).

I have been talking to lots of people today, though, inside and outside of Microsoft. In every instance they asked me to keep those conversations confidential. Why? Cause we’re talking about international relations here and the lives of employees. I wish I could go into it more than that, but I can’t. Not yet. See, it’s real easy as Americans to rattle the door and ask for change, but we don’t live there. Saying “give them the finger” isn’t that easy when there are real human lives at stake. And I don’t need to spell out what I’m talking about here, do I?

One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.

Being in the content business is not an easy one, that’s for sure.

I’ll pass more along as I can.

The other thing is I’m about to leave to go to the CES conference so getting online for the next while might be difficult.

Flickr’ing an unusual Mix06 meeting

I thought we were just getting together to discuss our Mix06 conference and shoot a Channel 9 video but Jennifer Ritzinger had invited Anthony Weeks (here’s a picture of Jennifer standing with Jeff Sandquist, my boss). Now, if you followed my trip last year to Target’s headquarters you’ll remember that Anthony “recorded” that meeting by drawing on a wall during the meeting. It was cool seeing him again.

Well, Anthony just recorded our meeting the same way. So, I can finally show you how he works. He listens. He draws. All while we’re having the meeting. Here’s Anthony standing in front of his finished work and here he is working.

Steve Cellini (right) and Ray Winninger (blue shirt). Ray’s the guy who does most of the Mix06 blogs and is heading the content teams. Steve is running the thing (he was the guy in charge of the PDC too).

Here’s the rendition of the first 15 minutes of the meeting. Detail shot of “It’s Microsoft Unplugged.” (We were talking about how Mix should be different than, say, a TechED or a PDC). Detail shot #2 of Big New Microsoft Conference. Detail shot #3 of “the 72 hour conversation.” (We were taking about the role that blogs, RSS, and other communication types will play). Detail shot #4 of “blur between traditional roles of ‘designer’ and ‘developer’” (We were talking about how Sparkle will change development/design roles). Detail shot #5 of “The Web is Inevitable and it’s here to stay.” (I asked Ray if Microsoft was trying to kill the Web. Heheh, I always have to be a troublemaker).

These were sent to my Flickr account live from my new sooopppeeeerrr dooooppppeeerrrr SmartPhone and without checking with anyone. And wait until you see the video we shot!

By the way, Anthony still doesn’t have a Web site. All the business he gets is through word of mouth. And he’s freaking busy from what Jennifer told me.

Microsoft takes down Chinese blogger (my opinions on that)

OK, this one is depressing to me. It’s one thing to pull a list of words out of blogs using an algorithm. It’s another thing to become an agent of a government and censor an entire blogger’s work. Yes, I know the consequences. Yes, there are thousands of jobs at stake. Billions of dollars. But, the behavior of my company in this instance is not right.

Rebecca MacKinnon has the details in a post titled Microsoft takes down a Chinese blogger.

Why is this so important to me? Well, you ignore the voices of individual people at your peril. And, I’ve been raised by people who taught me the value of standing up for the little guy. My mom grew up in Germany. Her mom stood up to the Nazis (and got a lot of scorn from family and friends for doing so).

I do believe in a slippery slope. If they come after you today, maybe they’ll come after me tomorrow. Gotta stop this kind of stuff while we’re still talking about you.

Oh, and to: Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti I’d like to offer you a guest blog here on my blog. I won’t censor you and you can write whatever you’d like.

Guys over at MSN: sorry, I don’t agree with your being used as a state-run thug.

This whole post has a couple of disclaimers. 1) I am assuming all the facts are as Rebecca has presented them. She’s a former CNN reporter and I trust her a lot, but there might be more to the story than is being told — I’m going to try to find out. 2) These are my own opinions, obviously.

I’m copying this post to Christopher Payne, corporate Vice President over on MSN and will try to get his point of view on this.

Update: someone over on MSN Spaces just wrote me and said he hadn’t heard of this and that he’s raising this up the management chain too. I’ll report more as I hear more. he told me that Steve Liffick is the VP in charge of MSN Spaces and that he reports to Blake Irving. I’ve sent email to both of those guys on this issue.