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Reporters' Roundtable: The soul of Microsoft (podcast)

This week: We have three guests to plumb the depths of Microsoft's spirit, two of whom have been, at points in their careers, tireless advocates and evangelists for the company.

This week, just because I find it interesting, we explore the soul of Microsoft. We have three guests to plumb the depths of Microsoft's spirit, two of whom have been, at points in their careers, tireless advocates and evangelists for the tech giant. First, in the studio, Robert Scoble, former tech evangelist at Microsoft and producer of the Channel 9 podcasts that connected Microsoft to its developer community. Scoble is also the author of the influential Scobelizer blog, and now produces content for Rackspace.

Second, Don Dodge. Don was recently director of business development for Microsoft's Emerging Business team. He's now a "Developer Advocate" at Google and writes a tech blog called Don Dodge on the Next Big Thing.

Finally, also in the studio with us, Ina Fried, CNET's Microsoft reporter. Ina's also one of the only 44 people that Microsoft founding CEO Bill Gates is following on Twitter.

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Show notes and talking points

Discuss jobs at Microsoft, what did, for how long.

What's it like to work at Microsoft? Robert, then Don.

Robert, when you were at Microsoft, it was seen to the outside world as the evil empire (and still is to an extent). Were you actively trying to change that?

How much of Microsoft is Bill Gates? Steve Ballmer?

How did the Web change MS? (Talk about platform shifts) Don: "Market leaders don't lose their dominance to competitors...they lose it to market shifts." What does this mean for MS? Can it survive the shift? What's it like inside MS?

Is the OS becoming irrelevant?

How does MS encourage innovation?

At any big tech company, you've got hundreds of engineers, each with their own pet projects. How do these energies get channeled at MS?

Changes to the culture in light of...the Consent Decree; the critical failure of Vista

Discuss the new model at MS: XBox/Zune division. Integrated, controlled system, very Mac-like. How does that fit inside the MS ethos?

Outlook: What the hell? Slow, buggy, behind the times. How did this happen?

How is Google different (Don)? How did you feel going from one evil tech megalith to another?

Why has Gates always been such a nut for tablets? Why couldn't MS make them succeed?

How will MS change in the next few years?

Recommended reading:
Microsoft's Creative Destruction (New York Times)
Steve Ballmer: "We Must Move At Cloud Speed" (TechCrunch)