Creating a feed syndication platform at Microsoft

Starting next week I will join Microsoft’s Windows Live division to create a new product team around syndication technologies such as RSS and Atom. I will help build a feed syndication platform leveraged by Microsoft products and developers all around the world. I am excited to construct a team and product from scratch focused on scalability and connecting syndication clients and their users wherever they may exist: desktop, mobile, media center, gaming console, widget, gadget, and more. is the new default home page for users of the Internet Explorer 7 and the Windows Vista operating system. will be the first feed syndication experience for hundreds of millions of users who would love to add more content to their page, connect with friends, and take control of the flow of information in ways geeks have for years. I do not believe we have even begun to tap into the power of feeds as a platform and the possibilities that exist if we mine this data, connect users, and add new layers of personalization and social sharing. These are just some of the reasons I am excited to build something new and continue to change how the world can access new information as it happens.

I’ll be working out of Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus but hopefully there will be a new San Francisco office in the near future. I’ll be working closely with the Hotmail storage team to make sure the platform scales and with the MessageCast Windows Live Alerts team to make sure you can customize how you receive new content. Microsoft Research already has a few projects focused on the blogosphere as well as research into new search and social networking techniques. Windows Live is all about your info, your relationships, and discovering new things all in a seamless and secure experience. Oh so much fun, it’s just a matter of prioritizing and having a strong enough platform on the back-end to make it all possible.

I want RSS and Atom syndication technologies to be available anywhere, integrated as the background technology delivering new information when and where it matters most. Read your own personalized top news stories while waiting for the bus. Track your friends’ Halo results anywhere. Pull the latest information off the corporate intranet and into an authoring application. Load your own niche content channel into your DVR. Update the art on your walls. I geek out on this stuff and could go on and on.

I will continue to engage the community. There are some big challenges ahead for the entire syndication industry that are best solved by working together. There is a need for new shared metadata initiatives to describe rich media such as podcasts, videos and images. Some content publishers are holding back their content due to a lack of clear authentication and feed noindex options. The industry can gain a lot by having open dialogue and working groups around various issues in the space and I will continue to look outward for new ideas, partnerships, and best practices.

I’m excited about the many opportunities before me in my new job. Not quite as excited as Steve Ballmer running around on stage but I’ll stay focused on building great products.

Steve Ballmer

Add my feed to your favorite aggregator to stay informed of the latest news as a new journey is just around the corner. Onward!


Commentary on "Creating a feed syndication platform at Microsoft":

  1. Alexander V. "Sandy" Hamilton III on wrote:

    Hey Niall, huge win for you and Microsoft. Congrats to the both of you. We’re cheering for you here at NewsGator.

  2. Anastasia on wrote:

    You’re joining a great team, and they’ve definitely scored by hiring you as well. We’ll definitely have to grab lunch sometime soon so I can let you in on various bits of MS-SVC “trivia”. ;)