I'd like to congratulate Robert Scoble , Jeff Sandquist and all the others involved on the launch of Channel 9. The doctrine of Channel 9 positions it as an avenue for Microsoft employees and their customers to interact in an honest manner. The Who We Are page states that it is an "attempt to move beyond the newsgroup, the blog, and the press release to talk with each other, human to human".
My personal take on Channel 9 is that it reminds me a lot VBTV, people either really liked it or really hated it. Already I've begun to see posts from both ends of the spectrum, there are posts like Channel 9 - a very commendable effort and then those like Why Channel 9 is stupid. I tend to agree with the latter post but do think it is an interesting experiment.
I think Microsoft has been doing a good job of providing avenues for its employees to interact directly with their customers from newsgroups to blogs to the various developer websites such as MSDN and ASP.NET. If anything I feel like there are probably too many options than too few. I daily check the microsoft.public.dotnet.xml newsgroup, microsoft.public.xml newsgroup, the Extreme XML message board on MSDN, various blogs I'm subscribed to, the comments in my work blog as well as various internal mailing lists for feedback on the technologies I am responsible for. Then there are days like yesterday when I got to hang out, drink beer and eat sushi with Tim Ewald, Ted Neward, Don Box, Rory Blyth, Kirk Allen Evans, Drew Marsh, Julia Lerman, Jeff Julian, Sam Gentile, Joshua Allen, Chris Anderson, Arpan Desai, Mark Fussell, DonXML Demsak, Daniel Cazzulino, Drew Marsh, Aaron Skonnard , Christoph Schittko, Rick Strahl, Joe Fawcett and a bunch of others.
The thought that Microsoft needs to “beyond the newsgroup, the blog, and the press release” doesn't jibe with my experiences interacting with our customers in my daily experience. In fact, I know a number of our customers dislike the fact that there's a decision tree that needs to be traversed to figure out how to get information from Microsoft (do they got to newsgroups? MSDN? find the relevant blog? go to GotDotNet? call PSS? etc).
However as I mentioned earlier, I think it is an interesting experiment which means I will participate to some degree. I'm already scheduled to do an interview with Scoble this Friday so I'll probably be hamming it up in one of those streaming videos in the next few weeks.