Microsoft is getting into social networking in a vertical way. It is funny because I came across details on this story while listening to a complaint from a partner who is looking for a new web store solution due to the closing of that product at BCentral. The new offering is Microsoft Dynamics Live. They are beginning with a vertical targeted at finance professionals.
“We’ve been thinking for a while about, is there a desire or a need for communities where businesspeople can connect, not on technology issues, but on business issues,” said Craig Dewar, director of community marketing for Microsoft.
Hearing that Microsoft is jumping into this space is both exciting and frustrating. It is exciting because it creates a new arena to play in. There are ways to use the social networks to your companies advantage and to a clients advantage. The fact that they are creating different verticals should add to the ability to create some benefit for your site or a client site thanks to theme of the vertical. What works today? Links. Ah wait, targeted links. A vertical social=Many targeted links. Perhaps.
This could fall by the wayside like many Microsoft ventures. It is amazing how many areas they jump into with a “me too” product. This is the trouble that many companies face. Especially one the size of Microsoft who needs to see significant upside to even think about it.
I just wish MSFT would find a way to tie new offerings to older products.
Do their products and offerings fail to reach their full potential in part because we are concerned that they will be discontinued or left to fade away (Case in point: bcentral.com).
The bottom line is this. Use the services to your advantage. Work them while you can and be ready if there is good value there. Don’t become too dependent on something that might go away in the future.
BTW: Can’t they just roll something out without announcing it before it is ready? It doesn’t even have a name yet. I know that it is a BETA, but come on. At least name it.
Another BTW: When did MSFT start putting a search bar in the header of the free web sites and domains that they offer through live.com? Fine, if you tell me that going in (maybe they did, I didn’t really read the TOS. Don’t tell), but adding it down the road is a bit bold.