Gates now only about two years behind

Yet another article that has to define “blog”: Reuters says Microsoft’s Gates touts blogging as business tool at Microsoft’s annual CEO Summit:

The growth in the number of blogs, and those who read them, however, is attracting greater attention from businesses as a means to communicate more directly with their employees, partners and customers. That’s due in part to the way that blogging has driven the adoption of yet another technology, called Real Simple Syndication (RSS), which allows blog readers to track freshly posted information without having to browse through a long list of home pages. Instead, many subscribe to RSS feeds on blogs so that they can read them on desktops as they come in. Gates described to his audience, which included Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, Carly Fiorina, Barry Diller and other top business executives, how blogs worked and suggested that they could be used as a tool for businesses to communicate with customers. …

Microsoft, which has already amassed more than 700 employee bloggers talking up its products and software in development, is embracing blogs and RSS technology because they are yet another potential threat and opportunity, said Joe Wilcox, analyst at Jupiter Research. Since blogging, and many of the tools needed to post blogs, can work independently of Windows, they could be used to draw away from Windows-based software, similar to the threat posed by Netscape in the early days of the Internet, analysts said. “If I’m Microsoft and my fundamental goal is to sell more copies of Windows, then I might want to get involved in that,” said Wilcox, who also has his own blog called “Microsoft Monitor”. …

Instead of RSS, however, Google is also promoting a rival syndication standard called Atom. Microsoft last year targeted Web search as key strategic area and has challenged Google’s lead in the market. Google, meanwhile, is reportedly working on a search function for information stored in personal computers.