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March 03, 2008

Is MSFTextrememakeover About to Tip?

I usually only read the blog MSFTextrememakeover when Mini-Microsoft links to it, but lately it is showing signs of creating its own community independent from Mini. If you consider my idea of blog stages (toot, toot) the blog is currently in "storming" mode, but shows signs of moving to "norming", at which point becoming "performing" is just a matter of time.

For example, in February the site generated 60 user comments, or almost two a day, which is pretty good. It's roughly where Mini-Microsoft was in about March of 2005; by June 2005, riding a wave of froth whipped up by annual review season, Mini had started down the road to phenomenon-hood. It's true that it's taken MSFTem a year longer to reach that stage than Mini, but the trend is upward.

MSFTextrememakeover has an angle and some expertise (in analyzing financial results) and has lately moved into more general criticism of Microsoft. The author is also starting to adopt a more entertaining style, while maintaining a pretty steady negative attitude--what you might expect if Eeyore could break down a Form 10-K. Mini-Microsoft occasionally offers a glimmer of hope that Microsoft's future is not nasty, brutish, and short, but MSFTextrememakeover generally dispenses with that, which is a useful trait for a blog in the storming phase (if the blog becomes more popular, I predict it will soften a bit).

It occurs to me that there hasn't been much speculation about his/her identity. I sort-of assume he/she worked at Microsoft, but looking back over the posts I would suspect no, although they obviously are a shareholder and likely live in the Seattle area. If they don't work at Microsoft I suppose there isn't even any opportunity for a debate on the morals of what they blog about, but I will point out this article about Wal-Mart bloggers who are free, apparently with corporate blessing, to say whatever they want about the company on a corporate blog called Check Out ("Where the lanes are [gak] all open"). There are about 10 authors on the blog, covering gadgets, gaming, movies and other topics that appeal to people who get their news from blogs (plus Lawn & Garden, not sure what that is doing there). One blogger, Rand Waddoups, writes about sustainability, which is interesting because Wal-Mart is making a big bet on that. A quick glance at reveals few negative comments about anybody; Elmo, Playstation, Verizon, Danactive...they're all good. The most risque item there is a commentary about the upcoming U.S. tax rebate--written by Alex Cook, who also wrote the dubious comments about Vista (is he a Microsoft shareholder?). Still, I like the experiment; Wal-Mart at first tried the PR-driven shiny happy blog, but has now decided that this is the better way to go.

Posted by AdamBa at March 3, 2008 09:20 PM

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I look at the Wal-Mart blog as a ripoff of Amazon Daily, which has really come into its own over the last few months with little fanfare. http://www.amazon.com/daily

Posted by: Scott at March 4, 2008 12:02 PM