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How to Make Outlook Cool. Actually, Kool.

Outlook read backwards is Kooltuo. Wow, it would make a good startup namesmile_wink. No, I did not go crazy, but TechCrunch reports that Microsoft just signed a letter of intent to acquire Xobni. And Xobni = Inbox, backwards.

Not that it’s a surprise: I wish I could predict everything with such certainty. This is what wrote in February, when Bill Gates presented Xobni for Outlook as “the next generation of social networking” at the Microsoft Office Developers Conference:

What does it mean when Bill Gates presents your product, a super-cool Outlook plugin to his crowd of developers?

  1. Gates’s message: now go back and copy this fast. That would be the classic Microsoft style, as many software startups can attest to. It would also put the market introduction to somewhere … around 2015? Unlikely.
  2. Microsoft will acquire Xobni in no time. Sweet and fast deal. Congratulations to the Xobni team and investors!

So, yes, congratulations to the Xobni team! On a personal note, I regret I can’t try Xobni, as I long ago ditched Outlook along with a lot of desktop bloatware, and am in happier land now, using Web-based applications. I’m perfectly happy ( and productive) with the combination of Gmail and the Zoho apps, and if I ever leave Gmail, it will be for another web-mail, not back to the desktop. The air is fresher in the Cloud.smile_regular

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How to Hire Bill Gates to Demo your Startup’s Product

Actually, I don’t know how, but Xobni apparently does: Bill Gates presented Xobni for Outlook as “the next generation of social networking” (is that why he quit Facebook?) at the Microsoft Office Developers Conference yesterday (video here).

Now, let’s think for a minute. What does it mean when Bill Gates presents your product, a super-cool Outlook plugin to his crowd of developers?

  1. Gates’s message: now go back and copy this fast. That would be the classic Microsoft style, as many software startups can attest to. It would also put the market introduction to somewhere … around 2015? Unlikely.
  2. Microsoft will acquire Xobni in no time. Sweet and fast deal. Congratulations to the Xobni team and investors! martini

Update (2/15): Xobni has a new CEO: Jeff Bonforte, Yahoo’s vice president of social search until now. Did he just escape from one Microsoft acquisition and get into another one? ;-)

Update (3/2): TechCrunch has sources confirming the Microsoft negotiations.

Update (3/20): Bob Warfield believes Microsoft is about to close the deal with Xobni.