A MSFTie’s view of Web 2 communities

This is a view I’ve heard before, back when I worked at Microsoft, so I thought it was useful to share so you can see how Microsofties think. Aleem Bawany writes “We don’t need to buy any community, we already have a really large one we can tap into.”

They are right, if you look at it that way. But you can’t have it both ways: you can’t live off your existing community and be “cool” and I know that Microsoft desperately wants to be cool. (They were paying for coolness initiatives to try to get people to see them as cool).

Why? Cause if you’re a consumer company and you want to see growth, you’ve gotta be interesting at minimum.

Why does growth matter? It’s what the stock market rewards.

Now, maybe passing on YouTube was the right thing to do, but lately I’m noticing a lot of cloning going on. That never will be cool. It may, however, be very profitable.

So, maybe Aleem will have the last laugh.

I still think we’re in an audience business, though, and audiences don’t appreciate copies as much as they appreciate originals.

That big audience that Microsoft has? It’s theirs to lose.

Oh, and I think Om Malik’s analysis is pretty funny that Google already paid for the YouTube acquisition thanks to a higher stock price. Of course Microsoft’s stock price has been going up lately too. So, not sure anything can be made out of that here, although it is interesting to note.

13 thoughts on “A MSFTie’s view of Web 2 communities

  1. Can MS *buy* community participation by paying communities to participate?

    I have a hunch many, esp. teenaged Myspacers would leave in droves even for a few bucks a month in revenue share. Why isn’t this done yet?

  2. Can MS *buy* community participation by paying communities to participate?

    I have a hunch many, esp. teenaged Myspacers would leave in droves even for a few bucks a month in revenue share. Why isn’t this done yet?

  3. “We don’t need to buy any community, we already have a really large one we can tap into.”

    Hahhaha, CLASSIC…typical Microsoft…they cull the usual freebie, Web Masteringish, techie geek, MVP slop up into some dried-out play-doh-like community, jolting all around to techie and industry conferences, thinking that’s where it’s all at. The trick to community, is opening it up, providing a framework and getting mindshare, not the Redmondish agenda-driven dictatorial-cultically-incestuous ‘Revolving-Door-Program-Manger-Ego’ idea of “community”.

  4. “We don’t need to buy any community, we already have a really large one we can tap into.”

    Hahhaha, CLASSIC…typical Microsoft…they cull the usual freebie, Web Masteringish, techie geek, MVP slop up into some dried-out play-doh-like community, jolting all around to techie and industry conferences, thinking that’s where it’s all at. The trick to community, is opening it up, providing a framework and getting mindshare, not the Redmondish agenda-driven dictatorial-cultically-incestuous ‘Revolving-Door-Program-Manger-Ego’ idea of “community”.

  5. John: good point. But the things that killed those weren’t mere clones, they went further.

    IE 2 had an object model that was far beyond what Netscape had, for instance.

  6. John: good point. But the things that killed those weren’t mere clones, they went further.

    IE 2 had an object model that was far beyond what Netscape had, for instance.

  7. For a mature company like Microsoft, I would argue that the stock market rewards cashflow over growth.

    And as for “audiences don’t appreciate copies as much as they appreciate originals” – tell that to Netscape, Alltheweb and Friendster amongst others.

  8. For a mature company like Microsoft, I would argue that the stock market rewards cashflow over growth.

    And as for “audiences don’t appreciate copies as much as they appreciate originals” – tell that to Netscape, Alltheweb and Friendster amongst others.

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