October 26, 2010
You may have heard this already, especially if you’re a Windows Live blogger, Windows Live is “upgrading” it’s blog service using WordPress. How convenient? According to Dharmesia Mehta, a Microsoft blogger, “Rather than having Windows Live invest in a competing blogging service, we decided the best thing we could do for our customers was to give them a great blogging solution through WordPress.com.”
I remember when Blogger was bought by Google in 2003. I’m not suggesting that Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Wordpress but what’s stopping them from doing so? Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, suggested on October 18, 2007, at the Web 2.0 Summit that Microsoft is interested in acquiring companies that make strategic sense, including open-source (like WordPress) in the next five years. Well, 2010 falls within that time period.
I’m not commenting that this is either a bad or good move on Microsoft’s part. I think that this is the flow of business in the digital arena and shows Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring their presence in the Web 2.0 (and future Web) world. However, this also shows how the company's transition to being a Web-enabled and Web-innovative company is having a hard time. Microsoft just can’t seem to get a handle on how people will use the Web in the future. They seem to be behind on things (not to mention in the mobile arena) and when they get on it, there’s something new already on the horizon. Microsoft seems to be more on the reactive side of things and can’t find the talent to be more forward-thinking in terms of the Web arena.
I do think that if Microsoft acquires WordPress (really Automattic, the parent company that also developed other open-source solutions such as PollDaddy and VaultPress), it will give Microsoft the talent they need to be more proactive with their grassroots Web services. I would suspect that WordPress will experience the same evolution as Blogger did (read about it in Wikipedia) in addition to its own evolution. It will remain very similar but parts of it will be moved to using Windows ID, Windows Azure, and others. Heck, Automattic already has VideoPress that will may be expanded to compete with YouTube (another Google asset – see the trend yet?). Automattic has several other services that allows Microsoft to have would-be multiple acquisitions to just one.
If you are a Microsoft Live Spaces user, you should now see some messages about WordPress. Upgrade and let me know what you think. Let’s revisit this once any follow-up (and more specific) information is released regarding the relationship.
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