MSN Spaces Positioning

Mike Torres has an interesting spin on MSN Spaces’ positioning. As I noted in my original review as the Beta was in the process of rolling out (literally), Spaces is a very consumer spin on blogging.

Mike says (emphasis mine):

“However, Dare’s response is on the money as well. We don’t intend to be the ultimate blogging tool, but what we can promise is that we are working towards becoming the ultimate self-expression tool. If you want to start a blog for your 10-person canoe shop, complete with your own domain and Exchange integration, MSN Spaces is not the right place for you right now. But if you want to share photos of your infant child with your family, or keep a journal for your classmates, or share your favorite movies, songs, and nightclubs with friends, we are going to do whatever we can to make sure MSN Spaces is the solution for you.”

While I don’t want to get into an argument over semantics, it strikes me as more than a bit odd that “the ultimate self expression tool” in MSFT’s eyes is appearantly one where you are restricted to the features, designs and tools that MSFT decides you need, vs. a completely open free-form solution like Blogger (which gives you hosted and un-hosted options, full HTML control, etc)…

I’m anxious to see how Yahoo! tackles this with Yahoo! 360. I hope, if they have a play-pen mode like Spaces, they also give those of us with more technical aptitude the freedom to truly express ourselves.

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4 comments on “MSN Spaces Positioning
  1. Mike Torres says:

    I don’t mean to nitpick over those semantics, but I said we are **working towards** becoming the ultimate self-expression tool. Not that we are there already.

  2. Tony Gentile says:

    Aye sir. But my comment remains the same:

    The ultimate self expression tool, IMO, isn’t one that limits a creator in some arbitrary way (especially when prior art provides more freedom). My quibble is not with the //state// of Spaces, but with where it sounds like you’re taking it (based on a reasonable interpretation of your post, which is all we outsiders have to go on) and who you’re intending to serve.

  3. Mike Torres says:

    “The ultimate self expression tool, IMO, isn’t one that limits a creator in some arbitrary way.”

    I agree with this in theory – but software that doesn’t limit its users in some way won’t exist for a really, really long time 😉

    If we both contend that we aren’t talking about the state of Spaces today (I wasn’t – I know it isn’t there yet), then I guess I don’t get the concern you are raising…

    Is it a belief that consumers wouldn’t want this kind of freedom – or that Microsoft wouldn’t want to give it to them?

  4. Tony Gentile says:

    Well, I think we define freedom differently. It *appears* that you’re taking a closed stack approach, which isn’t really freedom.

    Freedom would be controlling my own page template, at my own domain, with the ability to embed/inline any remote service and content repository, rather than having to use MSN services.

    Yahoo’s playing the same game with 360, so this isn’t an indictment of MSFT per se, but rather the way you big kids seem to want to play the game.