In an interview with the New York Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked “What do you see as the most significant changes in how people use software?”
I think one pervasive change is the increasing importance of community. That will come in different forms, with different age groups of people and it will change as the technology evolves. But the notion of multiple people interacting on things — that will forever continue. That’s different today, and we’re going to see those differences build. You see it in a variety of ways now, in social networking sites, in the way people collaborate at work, and in ad hoc collaboration over the Internet. You see it in things like Xbox Live, the way we let people come together and have community entertainment experiences. And you’ll see that in TV and video. It’s not like the future of entertainment has been determined. But it’s a big deal.
The use of blogs has grown unbelievably because of the growth of online communities. We communicate and network with others in our community (topic or locale) via blogs and RSS.
It’s nice to hear that Ballmer believes so strongly in communities. And Microsoft need not deliver the end community ala it’s failing Live Spaces or by buying FaceBook.
Just provide us the tools we need to communicate in our communities. You’ve done it for years with email, word and other software applications. This time, give us good RSS features in IE7, Outlook, and Word. We’ll then be able to communicate in our communities.