Deja vu all over again.

The Head Lemur doesn’t exactly think that Microsoft’s support for RSS is a good thing:

In yet another late to the party announcement, Microsoft says that it will support RSS in the next version of Windows. Segments of the tech community are abuzz with this news.
Codenamed Longhorn, which basically means that Microsoft will have another opportunity to shove another operating system farther up your computers rectum, and deeper into your wallet.

[...]

Anybody who views this as a positive development, needs to step away from the keyboard. Microsoft is the last company in the world to do anything for the people. This is about Microsoft maintaining market share for it’s software.

Rick Segal, an ex-Microsoftie, disagrees:

In the past, you wouldn’t have seen support for “pure” RSS. Not on my watch, boyz. Nope, what you would have seen is yours truly hawking something along the lines of SIR (Surround Isolate and Replace) Technology or RSS+.

You would have seen an announcement about RSS+ which will work with the standard stuff, but, puhlezz, why do that when you can kick butt with RSS+ on the Windows platform. I’d then have deployed about a million CDs, had jump start sessions all over the globe, and let developers around the world ship the RSS+ modules ahead of a pending release of Windows. Or, heck, we’ll take a shot with something like Active Desktop. Need I say more?

[...]

That process is impossible today. The nature of the Internet as a delivery platform simply makes this strategy impossible. Today’s world of blogging, mass (really mass) adoption of a technique or strategy by virtually “everybody”, gives things like RSS enhancements a rapid thumbs up or thumbs down before Microsoft or any other big player can dictate the game.

Ah the joy of short memories It was almost 10 years ago that Microsoft got the internet religion, after Bill Gates had said in “The Road Ahead” that the internet didn’t really matter. There was only Netscape and Mosaic, but then came Internet Explorer. Standards-based of course, with a few extensions, like ActiveX for example. The extensions are documented so that anyone can use them.

Suddenly this browser is free with the operating system. It’s pretty difficult to compete with free. So the people that created the ideas, the innovation, the technology, are driven out of business or into obscurity.

The result? The browser stagnates, and IE becomes the biggest tool for security breaches and virus infection known to mankind. Microsoft does nothing about that, except for a few simple patches.

Then comes Firefox which rapidly begins to steal press and market share, given better features and more security, as well as built in tools like popup-blocking. Suddenly Microsoft is concerned about their customers again, and promises a new browser version to fix everything. They latch on to RSS, today’s hot technology (already supported by Firefox), and announce that they are building their tools around it.

They announce Microsoft support for RSS. Standards-based of course, with a few extensions. The extensions are documented so that anyone can use them.

Suddenly this RSS support is free with the operating system, embedded into every Microsoft application It’s pretty difficult to compete with free. So the people that created the ideas, the innovation, the technology, are driven out of business or into obscurity. Only this time it isn’t Netscape. It’s NewsGator, or PubSub, or Bloglines, or Feedster.

And then RSS stagnates. Sound familiar?

This doesn’t necessarily have to be the outcome. But it sure sounds eerily familiar.