With the incredible brain power Microsoft employs, I can’t help but think they are really lagging from the innovation perspective. They continually miss incredible opportunities to dominate. Not least in the search engine space but also the social networking scene.
One of its latest missed opportunities is with Internet Explorer 7’s lack of social networking integration. We have clearly seen the success of social bookmarking, so why didn’t the company which is massive market domination at least offer users the option of integrating their favorites into a social networking tool? With the web 2.0 now among us, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to picture an Ajax enabled browser silently checking with Microsoft’s web services to ensure the user’s favorites are in sync. In much the way Outlook syncs when users next connect to the web, so would the windows mobile technology.
Since IE is embedded into most of the world’s operating systems, it could suddenly be the most powerful social networking and measurement tool of them all.
While at the closing session of the SES conference, I posed this thought to Dave Naylor, the SEO guru from bronco.com. Dave seemed to think they wouldn’t go that way since Google already had online bookmarks etc. However, I’m not sure I agree, since the Google toolbar requires manual installation (usually) and is not as seamless and integrated as IE’s favorites.
Suppose for a moment that you tie in the possibility of Microsoft adding an embedded (optional for the privacy freaks) sync function into their browser. Microsoft still has the opportunity to not just catch up, but dominate the social bookmarking arena.
There are also obvious implications for their search engine. Everyone knows what a big deal people make of Google’s page ranking system, Microsoft would suddenly have a social networked page ranking system which could be available to anyone who hasn’t opted-out.
We all know how successful the social votes of confidence from websites like Delicious have been, so imagine taking that a step further and making it part of the operating system?
The convergence of SaaS (Software as a Service) and desktop computing is upon us. This could be a great example of how Microsoft accepts the SaaS competition and embraces the new opportunities it offers.