Microsoft and the….Creative Commons?

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In one of the worst kept secrets of GNOMEDEX, Microsoft’s IE team announced new support for RSS within the browser and Longhorn, as well as a set of non-hierarchical (in others words, non OPML) extensions list to the RSS 2.0 specification. Perhaps I’m missing the ultimate significance of such a featureset (haven’t had the chance to sit through the Channel 9 video yet), but at this point I’m of much the same mindset as James Snell – they’re sort of boring. As Asa says, many of the features are already present in some form in other browsers. They’ll have some good use cases, undoubtedly, but I haven’t gotten the “wow, this changes everything” impression that I expected from some the tone of some of the leaks.

But the announcement itself did include one interesting provision – the use of the Creative Commons license. This is an excellent decision by Microsoft. For quite some time we (meaning RedMonk) have been encouraging vendors to consider Creative Commons licenses, not least of which because we’ve found them to be excellent for our own use. By going this route, Microsoft not only gives itself an “open” card to play, it does so by playing nicely with one of the more progressive organizations out there.

Some rights reserved, indeed. Kudos to Microsoft on a solid move.


  1. Check these out:


    it was written partially in jest, but underscores a serious point – lists are everywhere, people use lists for almost everything. With a basic data structure that plays nice with feeds, I can start reusing and repurposing my data – Amazon wishlists mixed in del.icio.us mixed in the Times non-fiction bestsellers mixed in with webjay. In Ireland and the UK we’re inundated with The Top 100 Something programs on the weekends. Shopping carts are lists. Search results are lists. My O’Reilly Safari library is a list. O’Reilly’s Catalog is a list. Flick photalbums are lists. Even feeds are lists. It goes on and on. Very few things people organise are not naturally lists. I’m betting most online consumer data is in list form. And the key bit – if people didn’t care about lists they wouldn’t bother making them up. There is massive untapped value in getting these lists to work beyond a single site.

    James is right it is technically boring, but so is RSS and Atom. The problem is that it’s so boring we (programmers) can’t be bothered to standardize it, which means the data gets siloed. That needs to be offset against the volume of the data, which si frightening – lists are everywhere on the web.

  2. Just listened to the Microsoft RSS podcast from Gnomedex and Adam Curry closing speech both of which I’d highly recommend.

    Here’s a direct quote from Brad Chase, once of Microsoft at the launch of IE4 back in the day (at Gnomedex they were previewing IE 7)

    Active Desktop was a pre-cursor to RSS – or a previous attempt at ‘push’ media : The difference today is the focus on consumers being able to ‘subscribe’ to their favourite sites, who themselves will ensure their site is formatted in the right RSS (or Microsoft ?) format to ensure subscription can occur seamlessly. Active Channels had a handful of ‘professional’ content sites (to quote Steve Jobs on ‘professional’ podcasters)

    Curry made an impassioned plea to let consumers ‘get their media back’ and also pushed that all industry players should be pushing for one click subscription. I’d recommend his talk over Steve Jobs ‘Stay Foolish Stay Hungry’ any day – His ‘every user is a developer, and every developer is a user’ is on the money at this juncture of RSS.

    From Brad Chase @ IE4 launch many years ago : Microsoft is focused on “a newer way of getting information, some people call it push, we call it sometimes Webcasting. It’s the ability to have Web sites delivered to you. So not only do we think primarily people want to browse, but we also believe there’s a set of people that want content to come to them. I know that I travel a lot, for example. And so it’s really convenient for me to be able to take a set of sites, download them onto my notebook and browse them right on the plane, even though I’m not connected.”

    Bill Gates said at the same launch “Certainly, we believe we’ve made a lot of progress in the browser space. One thing we feel is that with this product, Internet Explorer 4.0, during its lifetime, we will go to over 50 percent market share of browser users. So IE 4 is a major event. Dynamic HTML, active channels, the mail client we’ve got here, the advances in Net Meeting, all of those are based on the feedback from the people who are out there using the Web in very interesting ways.”

    It’s almost Ten Years on ! Who will have the last laugh ? and where is Rupert ?


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