Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica points out a job posting at Microsoft for a Windows 7 public relations manager. Check it out. A couple of observations strike me right off the bat: The requirements for this position seem less demanding than I would otherwise guess, considering that the company message for this product will be one of the most scrutinized ever in the IT industry, and that the person who fills this position will be working closely with the top tiers of the Microsoft executive suite. The unspoken requirement here is that the head of this PR effort will not only be accomplishing positive and measurable eduation of Microsoft customers on its newest, flashiest OS, but also attempting to erase the marketing and PR disaster that has enveloped the Windows Vista project.
Secondly, consider this, from the listing:
You will be responsible for improving the communication, interaction, and relationships between Microsoft, the blogosphere, worldwide PC enthusiasts, and even everyday users.
Perhaps I have a tendency to read too much into the order of things, but in this case, I don't believe it was an accident that the blogosphere is listed before users. Users, of course, can be bloggers, and bloggers can be users. In the case of Microsoft, that is almost always a given. And these days, especially among techies, it's not hard to find plenty of folks who will tell you that if you're not blogging, you don't exist.
Every day that goes by before this position is filled, the blogosphere is following what information there is on the OS, now due in January 2010. That's not much, so it's not hard to come across items like this: InfoWorld and friends (no fans of Vista or the dismantling of access to and support for XP), have come up with a widget to get people thinking about whether their current systems could support Windows 7. Nonsensical? Yes. Making its way through the blogosphere and influencing potential customers' beliefs about how difficult it will be to upgrade to Windows 7? Yes.
This is one crucial hire.