Foley on Microsoft

Microsoft Bloggers: A Who's Who

Mary Jo lists her 10 favorite blogs by Microsoft employees.

When I first started tracking the blogs of current and former Microsoft employees in 2002, it was relatively easy because there were roughly only 200. But these days, with more than 3,000 Microsoft employees blogging, it's next to impossible. But if you really want to keep up with what's going on at Microsoft, you have to watch the Microsoft feeds these days.

I try to at least skim all (yes, I'm a maniac) the Microsoft employee blogs hosted on MSDN Blogs and TechNet Blogs on a regular basis. I also subscribe via RSS to a number of Windows Live Spaces and other non-Microsoft-hosted blogs that are authored by current and former Softies.

As anyone who's checked out any Softie blogs is well aware, there are all kinds of folks blogging on all kinds of topics. They range from individuals who seldom intersperse two words between reams of code, to those who specialize in classic cocktail research and never mention their employer's name.

It was tough to whittle down my list to just 10 favorite Microsoft blogs (well, favorites as of this week), but here's my best attempt. In alphabetical order:

Joshua Allen (www.netcrucible.com/blog): Allen is one of the original Microsoft bloggers, posting since the end of 1999. As indicated by the tagline, "The Software Industry from a Rational Perspective," he discusses more than just the work of his WebData XML team. He's not afraid to criticize Microsoft, its competitors or pretty much anyone or anything else on the planet.

Alex Barnett (http://blogs.msdn.com/alexbarn/default.aspx): For all you Web 2.0 faithful out there, Alex Barnett is your Microsoft man. Barnett is international program manager for MSDN and TechNet, but he's also a constant commentator on AJAX, Google, RSS, blogging, long tails and short fuses.

Eileen Brown (http://blogs.technet.com/ eileen_brown/default.aspx): As technical evangelist manager on the Exchange team, Eileen Brown blogs about a lot more than just Exchange. Eileen writes about issues that are front of mind for many IT pros, including productivity suites, communications and collaboration.

Rob Caron (http://blogs.msdn.com/robcaron/default.aspx): Focusing on things happening behind the scenes, don't let his title, content architect for Visual Studio Team System 2005, fool you. He blogs about a lot more than just Team System -- covering (and discovering) tidbits about general code development and always providing lots of useful outbound links.

IE Team Blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/default.aspx): After years of silence, the IE product managers, program managers and other brass are both talking and listening to customers. The reader comments on this site are well worth perusing, too.

Jason Matusow (http://blogs.msdn.com/jasonmatusow/): Don't judge this blog by just his title, Microsoft's director of corporate standards, or you might never click on it for fear of being inundated with Microsoftspeak. Refreshingly, readers can expect well-considered commentary with plenty of thought-provoking takes on open source and Shared Source.

Cesar Menendez (www.zuneinsider.com): Microsoft went public about its plans for Zune, its iPod killer, in July. That's when the brand-new Zune Insider blog from Zune team member, Cesar Menendez, went public. Menendez shares Zune-related tidbits and absorbs the anti-Microsoft punches in equal doses.

Dare Obasanjo (http://carnage4life.spaces.live.com): Currently a product manager on the Windows Live Contacts and Storage team, Obasanjo has been blogging on a variety of Microsoft and non-Microsoft-hosted sites for years. While most of his recent posts are focused around Windows Live, Obasanjo mixes in observations on XML, Xbox and everything in between.

S. Soma Somasegar (http://blogs.msdn.com/ somasegar): Relatively few Microsoft executives blog. But one exception is S. Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's developer division and a big believer in corporate transparency. Soma posts regularly on all things tool related, addressing both technical and business topics. It's definitely worth checking out.

Volker Will (http://blogs.msdn.com/volkerw): Microsoft technical evangelist Volker Will has been blogging about 64-bit computing since early 2004. Surprisingly, Will is not on the Windows Server team. Although he's a member of Microsoft's partner strategy and platform group, it hasn't stopped him from being a fountain of information on Windows and Linux server issues of all kinds.

Got any other Microsoft bloggers you think are the cat's meow or suggestions for other Microsoft employees you'd like to see blog? Send names to me at mjfoley@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Mary Jo Foley is editor of the ZDNet "All About Microsoft" blog and has been covering Microsoft for about two decades. She has a new book out, Microsoft 2.0 (John Wiley & Sons, May 2008), about what's next for Microsoft in the post-Gates era.

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