700 blogs + mentioning RSS in a keynote to influential technology execs plus hiring Robert Scoble, ace blogger. The writing is on the wall. Mitch is right:Microsoft will move into the blog and social software space; it's only a matter of time.

From Red Herring Blog: Bill Gates’ blog strategy:

QUOTE

Bottom-up collaboration is about exposing information and letting others decide what they want. This eliminates one of the biggest barriers to information flow: The fear that something you send out will not be wanted, when it may be the most important piece of information you have at the moment, though only to someone else who is prepared to recognize and use that information strategically or tactically.

Now, Mr. Gates is just getting this idea, but there is a small army of Microsofties already hard at work on this. As Reuters points out, Microsoft already has 700 bloggers on its payroll. About 1.2 percent of the company's workforce already blogs publicly and there are myriad internal blogs, wikis, and other forms of bottom-up collaboration going on inside the Redmond, Washington-based giant.

Indeed, in recent months, Microsoft has hired Ward Cunningham, who created the wiki, an easy collaborative work environment, and last year enlisted Robert Scoble, a tireless blogger and former marketer at blog developer Userland Software, to evangelize Longhorn to developers.

Microsoft is not climbing on the blogging bandwagon late. It has been riding the blog-RSS railroad for a long while, and may turn it into the juggernaut that attacks Google, leading to a host of M&A activity in the social software space as warring camps stockpile technology for a protracted fight for the bottom-up workplace infrastructure.

UNQUOTE