Dare is on a roll, complaining about the RSS experience in IE7. He points to a bunch of people who say that IE7 isn’t an RSS aggregator, and then for good measure, posts again saying that IE7 isn’t like RSS Bandit (an RSS aggregator).
In fact, a week earlier, Jane Kim (PM for RSS in IE7) posted to Dare’s blog, explaining that IE7 is not an RSS Aggregator. Are you noticing a pattern here?
Dare says as much; IE7 was not intended to replace tools like RSS Bandit, NewsGator, or Outlook 12. It’s not a matter of trying to keep small ISVs in business, as much as a decision to put the RSS-Bandit style reading experience in the products where it belongs; namely Outlook and OE. IE7 doesn’t read NNTP feeds either; that’s what OE is for.
As for the argument that “you only have one chance to make a first impression”, I would just note that the orange XML icon has been on thousands of web sites for a long time. People already have an impression of what happens when they click on that thing. The user experience in IE7 is vastly better than IE6, especially with feeds that have some metadata. And the glide path from IE into an Aggregator like Outlook 12 or RSS Bandit is much shorter.
Now, you can argue that MSFT should build a full RSS Aggregator into IE. I would disagree (is Thunderbird hosted in a Mozilla frame?), but you can argue that. And you can argue that Microsoft should have delayed IE7 until Outlook 12 shipped an integrated aggregator experience, or you could even argue that IE7 shouldn’t have shipped without