Apple, Microsoft Try Social Software Model

ms_masthead_ltr.gifSocial networking concepts are coming to the fore in a pair of fairly bold moves by two major software companies. Apple and Microsoft are both trying their hand at building communities in different ways – Microsoft for its XBox 360 and PC gaming arm and Apple in its efforts to build community into the latest OS X, Leopard.

Microsoft got the ball rolling with its XNA programming framework for making XBox games aimed at amateur and student programmers. The product, called XNA Game Studio Express, costs $99 per year and allows you to compile code to run on PCs and the 360 as well as share your work with others in the same network. Most games will probably never make it into the wild, but Microsoft expects some games to reach shelves.

Like a farm team, the Studio Express model gains lots of Microsoft goodwill while giving a generation of programmers access to the APIs that make Xbox such a compelling platform.

promoleopardsneakpreview20060807.jpgApple is also following suit – sort of – by adding social networking features and Wikis to their new OS version, Leopard. The features include team logins, a Wiki server, and improvements to iChat for enchanced sharing and web meetings. There are also rumors of very interesting new improvements to iTunes:

Apple recently sent out a survey asking for information on the following details:

* The ability to view a friend’s wish list, with permission
* The ability to view what a friend is currently listening to, with permission
* The ability to view a friend’s playlist, with permission
* The ability to view a friend’s recent purchases, with permission
* The ability to view a friend’s favorite artists, with permission