Joe Wilcox Talks About Longhorn Marketing

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Like I said, I’m gonna stay quiet on Longhorn until Beta 1 is in your hands. “But I see the worst mistakes being messaging and marketing, rather than dramatically falling behind in innovation.” …

Read: Joe Wilcox takes on Longhorn and Tiger

Joe: I take the blame on the messaging. I could help with messaging, but I’ve gotten burned by Longhorn the first time around (I got excited about early versions of Longhorn, and talked about those with my readers, and then had to backtrack when plans were redrawn) so I’m just staying quiet until you have beta 1 bits in your hands.

Lots of the market confusion is coming from that lack of transparency. Truth is, Longhorn last year went back to the drawing board. Did you watch the Jim Allchin video I did on Thursday? Did you notice that he said he’s only been using Longhorn for three months? That’s quite brave transparency there. He’s admitting that Longhorn wasn’t usable until just three months ago — read between the lines and you can see we went back to the drawing board.

That said, teams are now rolling in their changes, and I’m excited about the direction again. I just don’t want to talk about features in particular (especially when Jim wasn’t willing to talk too much, I’m really keying off of him and other senior executives).

I think back on the days more than two years ago when I was invited to a secret Longhorn preview (this was before I was a Microsoft employee). What I saw was really Avalon and WinFS with a new UI (which I later found out was a prototype of Aero). Well, Avalon now runs on XP, so it’s not Longhorn-specific anymore, and WinFS has been sent back to the shop for more work, while a new search feature is in Longhorn that’s pretty cool (that works quite differently than the one I saw in the early prototypes — truth be told, it’s better in many respects!)

Aero is still in Longhorn, but no one outside of Microsoft has seen Aero yet and even inside of Microsoft most of us aren’t running with Aero yet (they really do want to keep the UI as secret as possible and don’t want screen shots to leak out).

Joe’s right, though. Microsoft doesn’t do enough to put Media Center and Tablet PC front and center. Those two are gonna play huge roles in the future. Why?

Let’s come back to the movie theater again. Portable devices and entertainment. Those are two areas where you’ll see big growth over the next few years.

One area, though, that isn’t very sexy is reliability. Right now those of us who are running Longhorn are also running stress tests on our machines. In fact, those tests are running right now on many machines at Microsoft in a distributed fashion.

Tim Sneath, for instance, showed me his machine running the stress tests. His machine is sent a bunch of instructions that just run everything at 100%. If something nasty happens, an engineer can get into the machine and see what happened.

I wanna get an interview with the team that’s doing that work. It’s a cool way that the engineering teams can use our standard office PCs for stress testing during nights and weekends.

One last thing, there’s some confusion about whether or not there will be a build of Longhorn up on MSDN. It’s clear now: there won’t be another build up on MSDN until at least beta 1.

Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as PodTech.net’s Vice President of Media Development.

Go to Scobleizer

Joe Wilcox Talks About Longhorn Marketing
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