Duncan Riley write on Blog slayer: Microsoft and the future of SixApart about the threats Microsoft poses on standalone blogging platform companies; including potential threats. Although the post relates to SixApart I think it is relevant for any other company that provides similar tools.
Although a direct competition with Microsoft is probably not the most pleasant experience for smaller vendors:), especially when their PR drums announce a full blown charge on a new emerging market. Still, I think that automatically deducting from any new competitive scenario where Microsoft is involved a predictable end of story where the smaller vendor is the loser may not always be right. Even when contemplating on the lessons Microsoft and Netscape wars has brought us.
Today there are different variables that affect the current competitive landscape that didn't exist before, which in turn can lead to different outcomes.
A big difference in the competitive landscape is that blogging platforms and blogs reading software are tied in a loosely coupled manner unlike the strong link web servers and web browsers has. The competitive edge Microsoft had while controlling the browser (and its underlying operating system) as well as the server side no longer exists. Blog readers can consume content in many different ways. Blogs are read via different web aggregators, personal aggregators, iPods, mobile phones and other mediums that highly depend only on readers preferences.
Innovation in blog reading mediums is at high rates and will grow even higher thanks to the simplicity and accessibility of blog content. The lack of dependency between the client side and the server side makes competition less intensive and less critical even when Microsoft is your competitor. Actually it makes Microsoft a competitor that has to follow the same rules every other competitor works by and this makes competition more fair.
The loosely coupled nature of the RSS in general has been built thanks to many different factors, including way XML is architectured, the concept of web services and open source technologies and state of mind.