Mr Scoble seems to be worth his salary. He has become a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience. Bosses and PR people at other companies are taking note.
Regardless of what you think of MS or any of the various lawsuits of the past few years, you have to admit - their public image had taken a beating. What the Economist has noticed is that his PR efforts - unscripted and honest - have helped improve that situation. Think PR departments haven't noticed that? Well, go google "PR Blog". I got back 4 million plus hits.
The article notes many of the potential issues - they figure (and I agree) that some ugly lawsuits are inevitable. There have been plenty of people fired over blog content; suits are only a matter of time. Still, that's a nit. This is a new adjunct to traditional PR, and it's not going away.