microsoft innovation: features rather than products


Robert Scoble has a rather surprising post up claiming that nothing he's seen come out of Microsoft in the past three years has made him go "wow." It's surprising for two reasons.

First, for more than two of those years Robert wrote nearly daily blog posts about things at Microsoft that made him say "wow"--and that contradiction, to me, raises some credibility questions.

Second, and more importantly, despite the fact that I'm no Microsoft fangirl (as Robert knows, I'm a long-time Mac user, and a big fan of many of the startups he names), there are quite a few aspects of Microsoft products that have made me say "wow" over the past three years.

The thing is, they're not brand-new products or services--instead, they're features of existing products that I've discovered just as I needed them, or that changed the way I worked. And most of them are a function of innovative integration. Here are three examples:

  • Windows Mobile + Exchange email and calendaring. Nothing else touches this for a seamless experience. If I add a contact to my phone, it shows up on my computer. If I receive email, it appears on my phone. If I add an appointment to my computer, it shows up on my phone. No wires, no manual sync, it just happens. It's wonderful.
  • Microsoft Word + Excel + Entourage merge integration. This has been there for a while, I assume, but I never needed it before. Since I use Excel for grading, and Word for creating formatted gradesheets, it suddenly occurred to me this year that I might be able to email those formatted gradesheets rather than printing them out and using up paper. And it worked like a charm. Had me going "wow" and "cool" and showing it to anyone who'd come into my office.
  • Windows Live Messenger sharing folders. Makes me wish that people I know used Live Messenger, or that Live Messenger worked with AIM accounts--this is a super-cool feature that's hobbled by the fact that IM services don't all interoperate.

(And now, back to grading. Amazing how much more attractive blogging becomes when you've got an onerous task you're trying to avoid.)


Great post. Agree on all accounts :)

Hope all is well!

good posting. thanks

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on February 26, 2007 10:36 AM.

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