Voices for sale?
Congratulations to Michael Gartenberg who's moving from an analyst role at Jupiter to an evangelist role in Jeff Sandquist's group at Microsoft (the same Jeff who nabbed Jon Udell recently).
Within the comments of Michael's announcement, there are disappointed voices, the sentiment of which is that Michael will lose his subjective view of Microsoft in his commentary relating to Microsoft and therefore his views are less valuable. There's a bit of the the old "you've turned to the dark side" point which isn't surprising to hear but I think there is a serious point to consider within the comments.
Let's take a quote from Michael's old Jupiter blog (which I presume will now be put on ice by his former employer - and not deleted now he's left). From March 2006:
March 21, 2006, 07:21 PM
Not a real shocker (never lost money yet betting against a Microsoft ship date) but MSFT is holding off on the Vista launch until January.
Net impact? Little on Microsoft. Those that want Vista will wait a few more weeks for it. The real impact will be for the PC vendors who were looking to sell Vista machines for the holiday. Microsoft's going to have to work to provide some mechanism to make sure vendors aren't sitting on lots of inventory while customers wait for the new OS to ship. Perhaps they could try this :)
It will also be interesting to see how the competition in Cupertino capitalizes on the delay."
It is arguably this kind of post that made Michael 'readable' - opinionated, some insight and to the point. The question here is how will his commentary change now he's employed by Microsoft as an evangelist? Of course, it will change in terms of the focus and attention he lends to Microsoft products (at his new personal blog), but, will he lose his a) ability to forthrightly criticise Microsoft when he sees something broken, and b) sense of objectivity regarding not just Microsoft but it's competitors?
The commenters that are now informing Michael that they are unsubscribing to his RSS feel the answer to both these questions is 'Yes'. The challenge for Michael, or any other voice that is recruited by a company because of their voice, is to prove those folks wrong.
Good luck to Michael, and once again, nice one Jeff.
(btw, I heard the news via Techmeme - sorry Josh ;-)