Microsoft vs. Adobe heats up

Joe Wilcox says "there's more to the story" this morning about Microsoft's breakdown in negotations with Adobe.

I've interviewed the Word team about its PDF support and it seemed pretty straightfoward to me. That team just wanted to add capabilities for our customers. I'm pretty sensitive to this stuff cause I've had Microsoft's gun aimed at my head and I want to make sure we're always behaving properly when it comes to partners.

I wish we could all get along better to make our customers lives better, but there's big dollars at stake here so understand Adobe's concern here. It always pains me to see a breakdown in communication with a partner, particularly one as valuable as Adobe.

Update: Brian Jones of the Office team gives his side of the story on his blog.

We’re “Lost” in HDTV

Someone save me. Maryam got a set of Lost's first season from a friend and we're totally hooked. Watched it until midnight last night. What a show. Now I understand why people talk about it so much. (I was too busy blogging to watch much TV, but now that I got my big-screen it is just too tempting. Having a big screen is totally changing our evenings).

Oh, I see Sony just announced new HDTV screens. That's just my luck. I spend $4,000 on a screen and they come out with new ones! (I knew they would, but seeing as there's no 1080p content out there yet other than a few BlueRay and HD-DVD's, it just didn't interest me). It'll be interesting to see the difference between 1080i and 1080p.

Demonstration marketing

Faux Windows Vista demonstration

Seeing the Chinese protests that were on campus a few weeks ago back when the Chinese president visited must have given the Windows Vista marketing team some ideas. As we drove onto campus yesterday there was tons of Windows Vista signage and pods of fake protests.

Now, these things weren't done to get a world-wide audience. There's a full-court press on to get employees to load the latest builds of Windows Vista and Office 12.

This is one of Microsoft's secret weapons. Well, not so secret.

By getting employees to try our betas (we call it "eating the dogfood") the teams find a lot of bugs that even Chris Pirillo can't find.

For instance, I loaded the latest build yesterday and my sound card still doesn't work. So, this morning I'm entering a bug about that. It pisses me off. But better that it pisses me off than gets out into the real world and pisses off a customer.

Anyway, nice to see the Windows Vista marketing machine is starting to spin up. They also had balloons in the campus fountains and I hear that there were some Windows Vista Talking Rain cans in some of the refrigerators on campus. I want one! I bet those will show up on eBay.

Regarding Windows Vista, other than my sound card not working, it's really taking shape fast. The performance is noticeably better than three weeks ago and things are starting to really look great. Jeff was showing me his new dual-screen Vista and told me he can't use XP anymore cause he's less productive on XP than he is on Vista. I can see why. I love the new Sidebar and search and, while there's still a lot of rough spots, it really feels a lot better than XP. At least for me.

We've also been doing quite a few sessions with other companies on campus lately on both Windows Vista and Windows Presentation Foundation and some of the apps that I've been seeing are quite magical. Can't wait to talk about those. Is anyone working on WPF or Vista-specific apps that we don't know about? We'd like to talk with you if you are.

Windows Vista balloon

Back at Microsoft drinking the Starbucks

New Starbucks coffee machines

It's so nice to be back at Microsoft working. I think they replaced the Koolaid machines with cool new Starbucks machines yesterday. So, no longer can we say "we're drinking the Koolaid" when talking about defending the company's position. OK, OK, I know we never had Koolaid machines, but seeing the Starbucks machines getting installed yesterday did bring a lot of smiles to the workers in building 18 yesterday.

Me? I'm trying to stay off the stuff, but I succumbed yesterday to bad habits. These machines automatically make coffee from real beans that are loaded in the top. Pretty good stuff. It's amazing how seemingly little things can lift morale. Thank you to whoever got this done!

Starbucks machines get installed

Wifi music player?

I'd love a Wifi-enabled music player (Dave Winer talked about that). Jeff Sandquist and I were talking about this yesterday. We both find that the night before a trip we're trying to download stuff to our music players (yeah, I have an iPod). Often we forget cause the night before is usually busy packing and doing other things.

But I told him something else.

Let's say you have a 60GB iPod. Well, I only have a gig of music. I'm not a music freak. I only have 125 CDs and I rarely buy music off of services.

But I love listening to podcasts. So, here's what I want.

I want a little service that sits on my music device that just fills it up with a bunch of random podcasts. Things that, when I'm stuck in a plane for 10 hours (I was supposed to be on one today coming from Reboot in Copenhagen, but cancelled that because of my mom) I'll have tons of things to listen to. Most will be crap. I know that. But my device would let me listen to a minute or two of hundreds of podcasts and move on.

If I kept a program, it'd download more like it next time. So, let's say I kept TWiT (This Week in Tech, one of the more popular technology podcasts) well, it'd know I probably am a geek and would download more technology podcasts.

Or, if I kept a Harry Potter podcast (my son likes those) it'd think I was into movies and would download podcasts about other movies. Maybe that wouldn't be accurate, but who cares?

Oh, and if I manually download stuff, it'd automatically delete its stuff to make room.

Doesn't that sound interesting?