I was talking to a customer (I know he reads this blog, so no names). He was having some trouble because two parts of Microsoft weren't communicating the way you'd expect them to. And I said in passing that one thing which we are unjustly accused of from time to time is underhand collusion: for example product "A" supposedly has some secret API that only the people working on product "B" know about. What we actually do is a bit like that scene at the very end of "Raiders of the lost Ark" where the Ark is hidden by placing it in crate and stored with thousands upon thousands of similar crates. Whilst I can't say for sure that never happened, people who believe "secret collaboration" is widespread really don't understand what Microsoft is like inside. You'd hope that all Microsoft web properties would:
- Run on Windows, IIS ASP.net etc. Every now and then someone finds a partner developed something Microsoft Branded uses Apache, and PHP. Although these can run on Windows...
- Still on the "using our technology" line Use Silverlight instead of Adobe flash. Actually a great deal of the Flash we use is Bad Flash anyway.
- Make all phone number Tel: urls. We tell customers that we can put presence and click to call here there and everywhere, but do we do it with our own numbers ? No. Hey we don't even write them all in E.164 format.
- Light up the Search box in IE 7. Actually I'm appalled by what I find on the Microsoft home page today At the top left "Add Live search to your Browser". Top Centre is what looks like a search box labeled but is actually a disguised link to a the Live web site. Shame on us for that. And at the Top right a "Powered by Live Search" box which leaves something to be desired in UI terms. Do we add search Microsoft.com to the dropdown box. No.
But lighting up the search box needs a <link rel="search" ... > tag on each page; and some parts of the empire are starting to get the message. I was pleased when I saw IE's search drop-down go orange when I was on the support site, clicking it show the "This site only search"
But I'll bet something from my "Swag" cupboard that we don't have this on the Microsoft home page before Christmas. (If we do - first person to send a mail to me pointing it out gets the prize) .