Start.com – Microsoft’s Own Little Garage Shop

Something interesting is going on at Microsoft. Or at least in their start.com group.

For the unfamiliar, start.com appears to be Microsoft’s quiet foray into the world of web-based RSS portals. What’s interesting about it is it seems to be the product of a more off-the-cuff style of building software. There’s no beta, no promised release dates. It’s just a few people screwing around with stuff and making some cool toys.

Of course, this is all theory, but take a look at the site. If you go to www.start.com you get a “page not found” error. But if you go to www.start.com/1 or www.start.com/2 you get a couple of variants of a web aggregator. www.start.com/3 is their latest stab at it (you have to do this lame little quiz before you gain access).

I’ve gotta say, with version 3, they’re coming close to something really nice. It still has some issues, but I like their approach: hack away and throw some stuff out there. Nothing they have makes me want to uninstall FeedDemon, but they can get there. I think the most interesting thing here is how Microsoft appears to be trying to counteract the Big Company sluggishness with some slick, nimble little efforts. If they can infuse that into their culture, they will put some hurt on all the little guys.

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