Here's something you don't see every day: A columnist for a Mac publication giving Microsoft big props for anything. In this case, Giles Turnbull is comparing and contrasting Microsoft's communications style with that of Apple, and is finding that Microsoft is WAY better.
Without much fanfare (like, none), Microsoft has encouraged some of their top geeks to start blogging. If you do a search on Windows Vista blogs or Office 12 blogs or blogs for any other new Microsoft product, you'll find more often than not that the top developers are sharing the real behind-the-scenes story of the development effort. These accounts include the good and the bad, the big wins, and the failures.
This is quite something. We've never had this kind of access to a major product development effort ever, in any industry. Imagine GM or Lockheed or Black and Decker being this open about a new product. It'll never happen.
Microsoft gets beaten up often and on many fronts. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, it's deserved. But Microsoft does do some things right. This new direction on communication (and it's way too widespread for it to be anything other than a direction from the company itself) is a great example of how things are supposed to work in the technology business.
Windows Vista and Office 12 will have bugs, and you'll hear about every one of them in the mainstream media. But, because of this openness during development, Microsoft will have performed more optimization, done more debugging, and incorporated more user feedback than any other product team in history.
I think I'm gonna go buy me some MSFT stock...