Dinner with Jim Allchin

Last night I had dinner with Jim Allchin and about seven other people. If you don't know, Jim is a Big Dude at Microsoft, in charge of things like Windows, .NET and "new media technology," according to his bio.

He was doing a press tour, and this dinner with a few bloggers was part of that deal. We got to see an early version of Longhorn and basically ask Jim and one of his cohorts anything we wanted. It was kinda fun.

One of Jim's repeated statements was that he wanted to bring "this stuff" to the masses. I asked for clarification because, in a lot of Microsoft's talk, they speak of RSS and blogging as the same thing. He agreed they weren't the same thing, and it seemed to be RSS he was talking about implementing in a variety of ways throughout Windows (e.g., built-in readers, automatic feed generation from a variety of lists...). While Microsoft does have a blogging tool, that's MSN—not Jim's department.

We discussed, briefly, how cool it would be if Windows had, say, the Atom API built in—and then that, it already would had the Atom API been built on WebDAV. Hmmm...I've heard that before.

It seemed pretty clear to me that it is not in Allchin's edict to create web services that bridge the gap between the desktop and the web—which, to me, seems like the future of computing (not to mention, the real potential power play against Google, et al). His job is to create another Windows. They will make more plumbing for others to plug in such services—and I assume it will be within MSN's edicts to do so. But they didn't do much (nor has anyone else) to take advantage even of the stuff that's in XP (such as Save to Web via WebDAV), to Allchin's dismay, it seemed.

Anywho, thanks for the invite, Scoble. It was fun. It's not everyday you get to sit down with what must be one of the busiest and most influential people in the industry.