Given that, I shot an email off to Soma expressing my appreciation, but I didn't necessarily expect to hear back right way, if at all.

And now comes the part where I say Microsoft is becoming more open.  I received a response back within 5 hours of when I sent it.  Now it wasn't a book or anything, but it was a personalized response, and not just a "thanks" with nothing else in the body of the message.  He took the time to respond back to someone he didn't even know.  I find that very refreshing.  And I find it indicative of how Microsoft is striving to become more open and communicative.

There are still a lot of MSFT employees who fear that posting their e-mail address publicly is a dangerous game.  I'd like to thank Soma for setting consistent good examples for employees in his organization.  There are simply no good reasons to not include customers into every part of our product cycles.