In essence this is Microsoft giving up on the blogging/social space. This is being spun as a good thing of course by the MS PR people, as them focusing on their core competencies while still giving their users the best experiences possible.
Which is well and true, with the massive empire that MS has they have many many areas they can put their resources in to instead. And Wordpress certainly will give their users the best possible experience, and this success for them with this announcement is just further evidence of this (seriously, if you're not using Wordpress already as your CMS platform I suggest checking it out. It is constantly improving in many ways, their latest major release of 3.0 certainly leapt ahead by leaps and bounds compared to the competition).
But we have to put this into perspective of Microsoft's historical behaviour, which has been a very strong case of "not invented here" (a version of "Not In My Backyard"). For instance they will have their own: server software, phones, development tools, console, mp3 player, etc.... you name it, it seems Microsoft will reinvent it for their own. Even to the extent of multiple ways to do something within the Microsoft world of technology, as different teams independently reinvent the wheel.
Think about it, how often (or ever?) does Microsoft hand off their customers to a third party company?
Now stack on top of this factor Microsoft's heavy opposition to anything open source and you end up with how truly remarkable decision this is. Wordpress is arguably the KING of non-desktop opensource projects out there (I said non-desktop to leave out Linux, which obviously is the overall King).
Even worse for Microsoft it runs as one of the most famous examples of an implementation of the LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and then the cherry on top.... Wordpress (a PHP program). And what is this? Open source all the way from top to bottom! You can see the far reaching consequences of this, it can even impact the reputation of core markets for Microsoft such as their server division. Because they've just effectively given the stamp of approval to Linux and Apache for their users to be on, Microsoft is sending them there themselves!
How many users you say? Well in the announcement it was claimed they have 30 Million active users, in reality this has been found to be PR spin and Wordpress.com will actually be getting a few million instead (or even much less). Even so, this is users they didn't have before! And as I've made the point of in this post, it isn't so much the number of users that is significant as it is the implications of what this means...
a) admitting somebody else can do it better than them
b) switching users over... to the competitor
c) choosing an open source stack! (LAMP)
It also raises broader questions for the user, if Microsoft is so willing to give up users who have put in the effort to customise their personal online space, will Microsoft start to abandon more "non-core" areas such as hotmail or online storage? Users mean traffic and the web is all about monetizing traffic, perhaps Microsoft is giving up on this... and their web ambitions in general?! Surely not, I would've expected to see tie ins between Live Spaces and Windows Phone 7. Like Andriod does with Google products, that would've greatly pushed Microsoft's online presence with users.
While they'll spin this announcement as a positive (and it is, for Wordpress as just the positive press is going to be great) it in reality must haven't been some kind of disaster happening behind the scenes for this turn of events to occur. Life must not be good in Redmond with the recent disasters they've had, for instance Vista and Kin. I really hope Windows Phone 7 does not get added to this list!
Other related posts:
Maemo + Moblin = MeeGo
SEO & Web Analytics/Marketing
Just got naked dsl with Orcon, my experience
Add a comment
Please note: comments that are inappropriate or promotional in nature will be deleted.
E-mail addresses are not displayed, but you must enter a valid e-mail address to confirm your comments.
Are you a registered Geekzone user? Login to have the fields below automatically filled in for you and to enable links in comments. If you have (or qualify to have) a Geekzone Blog then your comment will be automatically confirmed and placed in the moderation queue for the blog owner's approval.