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Microsoft Wants Web Communities Like the Democrats Want Talk Radio

About 10 days ago, Robert Scoble wrote that Microsoft is jealous of Slashdot and Scripting News. In his article, he quoted a marketing person who works closely with Microsoft as saying, "Microsoft wants to help webloggers and others build strong communities like Slashdot around {Microsoft} products." Scoble then went on to give 9 reasons why this will not work.

This seems quite similar to the effort by Democratic Party activists to create a talk radio network that emphasizes the left wing viewpoint to compete with established hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage.

Both Microsoft and the Democratic Party have virtual monopolies in areas of American bureaucracy that are key influencers of public opinion. Microsoft nearly owns the IT departments of mid-sized corporations, and dominates the retail distribution sector of the computer industry. The Democratic Party has the mainstream media and most of academia in its back pocket.

You'd figure that both of these institutions would know that they can be the dominant force in their parts of American Society for years to come if they remain patient, cater to the true believers, and keep convincing a significant percentage of newcomers that their ideology is correct. By taking their eyes off the ball and courting the natural constituencies of their competitors, Microsoft and the Democratic Party have given their competitors unexpected shots at legitimacy.

Let's hope that these trends continue.

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