Mini-Microsoft has a blog post entitled  Microsoft's Yahoo! Acquisition is Bold. And Dumb. which contains the following excerpt

To tell you the truth, if you had pulled me aside when I was in school, holding court in the computer science lab, and whispered in my ear ala The Graduate: "online ads..." I would have laughed my geek butt off.

So Google gets to have the joke on me, but for us to bet the company and build Microsoft's future foundation on ads revenue? WTF? As someone who considers themselves a citizen, not a consumer, I want to create software experiences that make people's lives delightful and better, not that sells them crap they don't need while putting them deeper into debt. I'm going to be in purgatory long enough as is.

I find this sentiment somewhat ironic coming from Mini-Microsoft. Microsoft’s bread and butter comes from selling software that people have to use not software that they want to use. In fact, you can argue that the fundamental problems the company has had in making traction in certain consumer-centric markets is that our culture is still influenced by selling to IT departments and developers (i.e. where features and checklists are important) as opposed to selling to consumers (i.e. where user experience is the most important thing).

Specifically, it is hard for me to imagine that there are more people in the world that think that whatever Microsoft product Mini works on has given them more delight or improved their lives better than Facebook, Flickr, Google, MySpace or Windows Live Messenger which happen to all be ad supported software. Thus it amusing to see him imply that ad-supported software is the antithesis of software that delights and improves peoples quality of life. 

The way I see it, Jerry Yang is right that from the perspective of a user “You Always Have Other Options” when it comes free (ad supported), Web-based software which encourages applications to innovate in the user experience to differentiate themselves. It is no small wonder that we’ve seen more innovations in social applications and user interfaces in the world of free, Web-based applications than we’ve seen in the world of proprietary, commercial software.  Something to think about the next time you decide to crap on ad supported Web apps because you think building commercial software is some sort of noble cause that results in perfect, customer delighting software, Mini.

Now playing: Snoop Doggy Dogg - Downtown Assassins


Tuesday, February 12, 2008 4:45:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It looks like the last sentence was chopped off.
Sentence Checker
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 5:38:33 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
"... Something to think about the next time someone decides to"

Don't keep you readers hanging, Dare! ;-)

On the serious side, have well become so desensitized to the world of desktop operating systems and applications that the current state of the web applications world seems more alluring, more sexy, and overall more innovative?

When I think of innovative UI's, I think of applications like Picasa and OS GUI's such as OS X, GUI and utility extensions like Quicksilver, and even *gasp* the Alt+Tab feature of Vista, not the circa Windows 95 drag and drop capabilities of Yet Another Web 2.0 Attempt to Clone the Desktop.

Can you elaborate a bit on where you see innovation on the web that surpasses what's taking place in traditional desktop software applications and operating systems?
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 5:49:05 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Oh, two other fantastic examples of desktop applications that showcase the superior innovation of desktop applications in comparison to their web-based counterparts,

* Office 2007
* Windows Live Writer

There's nothing even close to either of these in their respective web-based applications category, so I won't even bother coming up with a comparison.

And what about webdev tools? The closest I've seen is Bungee Connect, but while it's a *FANTASTIC* tool that mimics typical desktop functionality and look-and-feel, what makes it innovative is not the innovation of the GUI and related features but the fact that it's the first real web-based application that comes even close to it's desktop counterpart (in comparison, Bungee Connect is closest to VB.NET/VS.NET with zero install and deployment adding to it's overall innovation and appeal.) In other words, it's the first web-based application that makes the developer feel at home and within his/her comfort zone as it relates to its desktop application counterpart.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 8:05:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I agree with the last comment. I think Live Writer and Office 2007 are great examples of proprietary desktop software that are infinitely better than any web-based counter parts.

I used Google Docs exclusively for two months before I tried Office 2007 and thank God I made the switch.

Visual Studio / Web Developer Express is another smash hit imho, and the extensibility of it is incredible. For instance the VXE team built a World of Warcraft addon studio that allows me to do Lua design for my WOW HUD? And this is the same program that lets me build Facebook Applications, Web Applications, Web Services, Control Libraries, and so on? Show me a web-based tool that can offer the same variety of experiences with the same level of sophistication (IntelliSense, the VS debugging tools, and so on)
Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:52:06 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Take a step out of the "everything web has got to be right (and good)" closet. There are a lot of MSFT products out there that are infinitely better than any of the items you listed. I don't *have* to use Office, VS, SQL, XBox 360, and the list goes on. I use them because they do in fact make my life easier and/or better.

I can't really say the same for most any of MSFT's web-based services such as IM, Live Spaces, etc.

As for ad-supported software... I do my best to avoid them because the ads detract from the experience. For example, I loved Messenger for the longest time. The ads never really bothered me. Then because of Microsoft's alliance with partners and the necessity to drive ad revenue higher, IM became a severe nuisance when Qwest was given the right to basically associated themselves with accounts that were identified as Qwest-sourced (based on msn subscription or ip). The association would change your appearance and functionality of hotmail, im, and basically any passport-dependent service. IM and hotmail had the biggest impacts, imo. What a freaking nightmare. I was on the phone with Qwest for nearly 3 months trying to regain control of my account. Nice. Headaches and hours on the phone were a direct result of an effort to drive up revenues. Oh gee, WLM really made my life better... indirectly is has because I've stopped using on a daily basis.

I guess bottom line it's all about expectations and experiences. I'd rather pay for a product because it's good and gets the job done rather than compromise with half-solved solution that is free. As it turns out, I'm happier with zero ad-based solutions.
Saturday, February 16, 2008 3:03:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Dare, you are aware that Mini-Microsoft is an MS executive, right? Take a guess who it is.
Ginny Firecrotch
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