This week Microsoft launched adCenter, an advertising product similar to Google’s AdSense. The problem is that Microsoft launched the site without any support for non-IE browsers. As they strive to “evolve Microsoft from a software company into the world’s largest, most attractive provider of online media through MSN, Windows Live™ and adCenter” (Microsoft), they need to think outside of the Microsoft box to recognize the need to provide broad support for other platforms and browsers to be successful with the new direction.
The problem for Microsoft is that the people currently using alternate browsers, like Firefox, tend to be very vocal early technology adopters and technology influencers. By shunning this crowd, Microsoft is asking for failure. One example of this phenomenon came from Darren Barefoot’s blog entry titled “I Guess Microsoft Doesn’t Want My Money“.
I do not want people to have the impression that no one at Microsoft gets it. Robert Scoble, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, understands that support of Firefox is a necessity for Microsoft. Scoble says the idea that people at Microsoft should only care about Microsoft products “must be washed from our corporate culture. … if you want the most passionate people in society to use your stuff, you must support Firefox.” (Scoble)
Microsoft needs to wake up to the reality that if they want to be more than a software company, they will need to embrace competing software.
On a personal note, this is my 100th Open Source Culture blog entry!