Wednesday, August 24, 2005

David Card - Pre-emptive IM Strike from MSN

Well, I didn't know that Jupiter Media were shills for Microsoft, but I'll add them to that list...

"MSN called a quick briefing as a preemptive strike against a rumored Google IM announcement. Microsoft exec Blake Irving even admitted that was the reason for the call -- that otherwise, who'd announce a dot release? When have you ever Microsoft say that kind of thing?"

The Geekspeak eludes me here. Is the claim being made that Microsoft never releases beta software? By many accounts the software they SELL is Beta level. Who's he trying to kid?

"Anyway, MSN Messenger 7.5 has improvements in audio, interoperability, safety, and fun stuff."

Well, that's nice. Does it run on Linux too? I rather like the built-in iChat when I'm running OS X and on Linux, nobody beats Gaim. I even HAVE an MSN id on that, but unfortunately, nobody I know has one (any more) so it's not doing me a lot of good. Fortunately Gaim handles lots of IDs with little overhead.

"- Claims a new stack gives better VOIP quality than VOIP."

Translation: We are fixing Windows up to favor our voice enabled tools over anyone else's. Our "open" documentation on these interfaces will be available to other developers in a dozen years or so.

"- 'Interoperability' means the Vodafone connection is rolling out - nothing new on AIM interoperability (the only one that counts)."

Will that be a "dot release"? If MSN and AOL wanted to, they could sit right down and cut a deal to make their two clients interoperate. As it is, Gaim beats them both, even on Windows. Google is offering to make everything work together at the server level, one ID to talk to everyone. That is an i-n-n-o-v-a-t-i-o-n in case you aren't familiar with such things.

"- Safety means you can turn links and file transfers off (it's binary: off or on, no varying for different buddies)."

Well, I don't know what this is about. Some perceived flaw in the Windows client I guess. Nobody REALLY interested in security is using Windows, so it is a moot point. I'm fairly certain that the Google client for Windows will remain a cleaner, less buggy, and safer interface in the long run. Does anyone really have any doubts about that?

"- Fun stuff is animated backgrounds -- good for sponsored promotions."

Again, Google has opened the door for people to talk to its users through whatever interface they choose, even the MSN Messenger. All MS has to do is walk through the door. I'll stick with the no-frills interface. I hate seeing my computer operating at 80 percent CPU when I'm not using it. Call me a kooky energy conservationist.

"Finally, MSN wants to remind everyone that it's got six years of experience in this stuff -- hear that, Sergey? -- and is sticking to its promise of thrice-yearly upgrades, so watch for more goodies in November."

We don't need to be reminded how much experience Microsoft has. Those years are painfully memorable. But we will get over them eventually.

"The upgrades are all fine, but I was actually more impressed by Irving's crisp articulation of the IM Big Picture. MSN is trying to move the conversation away from IM (defined as 'real-time text messaging,' how dull) to 'contacts.' I think they downplay presence management, but that's okay, presence sounds too much like AOL-friendly talk. As does Buddy Lists, but I can't break the habit."

Um. Apple did this already. Surprise!

The problem with the new things at Microsoft that interoperate so well (but only with other Microsoft things) is that most of them suck. Hotmail sucks, MSN Spaces sucks, and I have no need of their address book since it doesn't work with anything but the things that suck. I keep trying though. Every time MS comes out wit something new I try it (I like to try new things) and I'm here to tell you that the new Microsoft Earth thing doesn't suck so bad. They actually have better maps than Google in a few places. This seems to be the only thing in which they are competitive with Google. One to watch.

"Anyway, MSN gets it."

Well, they will soon.

Update: And looky here... only a day later and the same analyst is posting talking points from the MS press release as though he just thought them up. Shame.

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