I just had dinner with a bunch of Italy’s top tech bloggers and technologists and Marc Canter. Plus I’ve been talking with people all day long. Microsoft hit major Internet home runs today with its announcements, based on what I’m hearing from formerly-skeptical developers.
I haven’t heard this level of excitement about Microsoft’s Internet Strategy in years.
While Dean Hachamovitch, head of the Internet Explorer team, and Scott Guthrie, head of Internet development tools teams, were out front parading a dizzying array of new technology, I got a few interviews today and one name kept coming up:
So, what is resonating with developers today at Microsoft’s Mix Conference?
1. Internet Explorer’s new pro-standards role. Do not underestimate how big a deal this is in winning the hearts and minds of developers. Read the 578 comments on this post that talks about IE 8’s new standards-based defaults. 578 comments. Almost all of them positive toward Microsoft. Damn, I remember the days when it would be 578 anti-Microsoft comments on that blog.
2. Microsoft’s demos. It took me two hours to get from the front door of the Venetian to the Mix registration desk. Usually that would be a 10-minute walk and that would include five minutes of gambling at one of the tables. Why did it take so long? Because I was stopped every few feet by a Mix attendee (or, in one case, Dan Farber) where the conversation went something like this: “did you see the Olympic video demo? Holy s**t is that cool.” Or, “did you see the Hard Rock demo? Did you see that it’s live now and you can go play with it?” Even TechCrunch is fawning over that one.
3. New features in Internet Explorer. Especially something called “Web Slices” which lets you track just something specific on a Web page. For instance, the status message on Facebook. Also something called “Activities” which the IE blog says makes it so “a user can select text on a web page and map it, blog it, look for it, or just act on it without having to copy it, open a new tab, navigate to another site, and paste. We made the OpenService Format specification available under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.”
I got some videos with my cell phone that back up all this.
For instance, here’s an interview with Chris Saad. Don’t know him? He’s the one who is heading up the Dataportability.org. Also in that interview is Frank Arrigo, Microsoftie that I’ve known for years.
Here’s an interview with Eric Zocher while we talked in the BlogZone at Mix, who runs the Expression Team at Microsoft (the tools developers will use to build Silverlight experiences).
Here’s an interview with Scott Guthrie, who hosted many of the most popular keynote demos yesterday morning. Sorry for the noise, but we were in an extremely noisy room and I was recording him with a cell phone.
There’s a lot more on TechMeme here and here.
It’s pretty clear that Microsoft’s Internet strategies have turned a corner and now it’s time to go and visit Ray Ozzie’s team up in Redmond.
Another thing that’s clear? Microsoft’s PDC in September (its professional developer conference) is going to be one that’ll generate a lot of news.
Does this signal that Microsoft “gets” the Internet? Well, Microsoft sure made it clear today that you can’t count them out. I’m having to change a whole bunch of my beliefs of how the industry is going based on what I’ve seen and heard today. How about you?