Ten years ago, in a day that will live in infamy, at least for Netscape, Bill Gates switched Microsoft from his AOL killer, Blackbird, to embrace and extend the Internet. And we are all better for it. His memo on the switch circulated the Web 1.0 world and lit a fire in the belly of the great northern Wolf. (They always do best with an enemy in sight.) Now, with Google Envy turning into Fear of Google, he has done it again. Dave Winer, the Ur-blogger, and now a Fellow at Harvard, has published what he believes to be BillG's Web 2.0 email and the Ray Ozzie call to action.
The wolf is a much feared but misunderstand animal, that when allowed to hunt, improves the ecosystem. In one decade, the wolves in Yellowstone have removed the voracious herbivores (Elk) from the lower rivers, restored the willows and beech trees that shade the rivers and streams, cooled the waters and enabled many more trout, beaver and other river animals to thrive, and thereby improved the whole park, in a remarkably short period. Similarly, Microsoft has become the IBM of our days, hobbled by government antitrust and filled with people who do 'stuff' rather than move the needle forward in the company's fortunes. The wolf has become a lapdog. It is about time to unleash the animal spirits in that company.