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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Changing Directions at Microsoft

Microsoft recently reversed themselves in endorsing a political position and received some recognition for listening to their employees. A good question is how did they put themselves into that position in the first place. Unfortunately this is another example of the big ship lost in the harbor.

Robert Scoble was somewhat involved in this affair and after achieving success he proclaimed:

Any Microsoft employee who thinks he or she is being discriminated against for any reason, please let me know and we'll shine light on that problem together. It's just not acceptable.

Dave Rogers questioned Robert's new role:

Has Robert established a parallel process to resolving discrimination complaints? If so, has he coordinated this with human resources or some other responsible authority at Microsoft so that the two processes might work together and not a cross-purposes? Does Microsoft welcome Robert's efforts in resolving discrimination complaints through public exposure without a clearly defined process that protects the rights of all concerned? Again, I don't know.

My only interest in this subject is my interest in the ideas of responsibility, authority and accountability. Ideas with which I'm afraid too many people in the "blogosphere", flush with the thrill of attention confused with authority, are unfamiliar; and may have to learn the hard way. Or who, having not learned them, may needlessly injure or harm innocent people.

Jon Husband also blogged:

"Its NOT appropriate for Scoble to play cop, prosecutor, judge and jury all by his lonesome (especially in public) any times he thinks he sees or has heard of someone sneezing the wrong way..."

To Robert's credit he recognized his mistake and reversed course:

Excellent points. I went overboard. I was wrong. Jon is right. So is Dave Rodgers who also made similar points.

That's the neat thing about having so many smart readers. They educate you. If you're listening.

It looks like the mix of a slightly off-course company like Microsoft and a powerful blogger like Robert Scoble will be an interesting situation to watch.