Microsoft to get tougher on its bloggers?
Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley has published her 2007 predictions on Microsoft...
"This time around, I've decided to break my traditional Top 10 predictions list in two: One half being what I consider relatively safe and well-considered bets on what Microsoft is likely to do (and is likely to fail to do) in 2007, and the other my out-on-a-limb list of Microsoft predictions."
Of the out-on-a-limb list, I thought this one interesting:
"4. Adobe will sue Microsoft. Adobe almost sued Microsoft in June -- if you believe the press reports -- but didn't actually pull the trigger. But once Microsoft ships its Expression design tools (meant to compete with Dreamweaver et al) and Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/e) Flash-killer in 2007, watch Adobe's legal department kick into action."
hmmm...("WTF is WPF/e???" I hear you ask!...check this post by Ryan Stewart, the new MSDN WPF/e site and JD's (of Adobe) links on Adobe / Microsoft, plus some Channel 9 vids here and here)
And a relatively safe and well-considered bet?
"I foresee 2007 as the year that Microsoft gets tougher on its bloggers."
I don't know about this one...and I don't know why she believes this. She mentions that Mini-Microsoft has been 'wavering' in its criticism of Microsoft, but there's nothing that Microsoft could have done even if it wanted to in this case (after all, Mini-Microsoft was / is anonymous) and goes on from there to say a general clamp down will be forthcoming. I don't see the connection.
Arguably, Microsoft's support and encouragement of blogging has paid off to date in that it has provided a great deal of transparency into the company where it was lacking previously and helped demystify it in the customers eyes by providing direct access channels for dialogue with employees from hundreds of product teams. Why would Microsoft 'get tougher'? What would that mean? Yes, mistakes will happen (e.g. overly enthusiastic timing of product news ) and errors of judgement will be made (e.g. accidental disclosure of stuff under NDA, or bad-mouthing competition), but these are the risks involved when you trust your employees to blog.
As blogging become an increasingly powerful way of connecting with customers, the best an employer could and should do is educate its employees on how to 'Blog Smart', not to 'get tough'. If you need to 'get tougher' with your employees, the real problem you have is that you need smarter employees.