Live from CES in Las Vegas, special correspondent Kevin Restivo (aka my Talking Tech podcasting partner) has some thoughts about Microsoft’s efforts to win over bloggers and podcasters. Take it away, Kevin.
Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to win over notoriously critical bloggers and podcasters this weekend in Las Vegas. The software giant, which is fighting to make gains in the Web 2.0 world, flew 60 bloggers and podcasters to a two-day conference called Featured Communities Vista Lab 2007. Microsoft also flew in renowned photographer Art Wolfe to give a lecture on digital photography, and gave attendees a signed copy of Wolfe’s latest book, which sells for a cool $125. Oh, and some guy named Bill Gates addressed the group on Sunday morning.
The conference comes on the heels of a controversial giveaway, which saw Microsoft give away Acer Ferrari notebook computers pre-loaded with the Vista to about 90 bloggers (including Mark) And ya, there was some actual talk about software and new Web 2.0 services.
Web surfers looking for directions will probably appreciate two new services, called Virtual Earth 3D and Local Live that were previewed for the group yesterday. At first glance, they don’t seem to be ‘me-too’ services. Virtual Earth, for example, lets you cruise through 15 U.S. cities in 3D fashion. Canadians can still use the service but only in 2D format. Microsoft hopes to include detailed 3D mapping for other Canadian and U.S. cities over the next year.
All told, the company’s weekend efforts seem to have paid off with positive posts and lots of general gushing during the sessions.
Update: Microsoft unveiled the Home Server this morning. At first glance, it seems very cool, especially for people who have multiple computers that they access over a home network. The idea of a single repository for all things digital can only be a good thing. To be honest it’s something I expect from Google given all the talk about the company putting together a service that syncs your bookmarks, digital photos and music across the Web. For other views, check out 10 and Jeremy Wright, who sees a bright future for porn within Home Sever – Mark Evans

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