Monday, June 02, 2008
Microsoft’s new eX Box
Book Expo America in Los Angeles was wall to wall in stands of all shapes and sizes. Books filled the shelves and were piled on the tables and some stands even had thick pile carpet to loose yourself in. However stand 1217 was different. It appeared to have no carpet, shelves, books and was in fact a grey box with one door.
Was this a new marketing scam? Was it Dr Who’s Tradis? There was no signage, not even any graffiti to tell you who owned it. Perhaps they had just cancelled but why would they erect a box and remain secret.
On Saturday the box was surrounded by a long winding queue waiting for a book signing next door and no one seemed perturbed by the box. Then the door opened, a head glanced around to see that the coast was clear and out stepped a publisher and the door shut. A few minutes later a publisher approached the door, a quick knock and they were let inside. A routine to be repeated as on a pre ordained schedule.
Perhaps it was a bordello to relieve stressed publishers? Perhaps it was a secret rites passage?
The answer soon became clear – it was a confessional. Microsoft Live Book Search was using their stand allocation to confess to the chosen few of their publisher clients. Perhaps the confession delivered by one of their Evangelists would have gone, ‘Please forgive us, for we have strayed from our publishing path and forsaken you to Google.’
Why was it behind closed doors what was so secret or was it just the embarrassment of yet another high profile technology company walking away quickly and quietly from their previous position.