My job is focused on receiving feedback from customers and there’s plenty of it. Feedback comes from a great many sources including corporate customers, product support teams, critical problem resolution teams, newsgroups, blogs, ISVs, web developers, colleagues, friends and family.
One of the challenges of working on what is arguably the most used piece of software in the world is that there is such a broad array of customers with many different requirements. There are three broad categories of customer for IE:
As a team we listen to all these groups through a wide variety of feedback mechanisms. There are regular chats on the web with members of the IE team that I help host, this includes monthly public chats that anyone is free to join and also private chats subject to Non Disclosure Agreement with our MVPs who provide valuable feedback. I look forward to all opportunities I get to talk with customers, either one on one, through the blogs, through the newsgroups and on the monthly chats that we host. We also have the wiki on Channel 9 as an additional place where you can leave feedback and suggestions.
As we collect feedback I look for common trends and ensure that we are listening to all customers, not just the most vocal set. We've been collecting feedback for our work on IE7 for some time through all these mechanisms, this helps us decide what work needs to be done and how to prioritise it. While some requests may have to wait for another major release I believe that IE7 will offer an unparalleled browsing experience on Windows.
I also noticed a recent eWeek article that said "Microsoft holds a secret Webcast with its closest partners to brainstorm on ways to improve Internet Explorer". I’m not aware of any discussion that matches eWeek’s description. As with any software project we talk to many different customers on a consistent basis and some discussions are confidential as we explore ideas and possibilities.