Wednesday, November 09, 2005

MS wants to "Just work"

The Financial Times has uncovered some emails that Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie (CTO for MS) sent out that outline some of the ideas that MS wants to use to try to stay on top as the world enters the "services era" (web 2.1?) and then prompted by a quick conversation with someone in the hall it got me thinking... Three key tenets Mr Ozzie makes three points: 1. The power of the advertising-supported economic model. 2. The effectiveness of a new delivery and adoption model. 3. The demand for compelling, integrated user experiences that “just work”. He then lists “opportunities” for “seamlessness”: Seamless operating system, seamless communications; seamless productivity; seamless entertainment; seamless solutions; seamless IT. “In assessing where we are and where we need to be, some new efforts will surely require incubation,” Mr Ozzie says. “But in many areas we have 80% of the product and technical infrastructure already built – we just need to close the 20% gap.” He then outlines efforts needed in each of Microsoft’s three divisions. Key items are: - the “connected office” - making Microsoft’s Office programmes more able to work together and over the web. Telecom Transformation: “How can RTC [Microsoft's VoIP technology] begin as an individual phenomenon, growing into a small business offering with a level of function that they’d never imagine possible, growing into the enterprise?” Gaming : Mr Ozzie suggests allowing the Xbox game console to connect to other services, such as PC or mobile phone-based instant messaging and VOIP. “Grassroots mobile services” are also flagged. I find the points on telecom and gaming interesting. The "Connected Office" is certainly something that they will try (and I think it may end up flat (who wants ads for what you are typing out for your project?? and how many people will ignore them or find work arounds?). MS wants to go after telecom. Obviously they want to do that with VoIP - putting this together with what Google seems to be doing by eating up dark fiber (Google News, Business 2.0, Register) it seems that MS is playing the chase game again. If they want to get into the telecom area, they would need to do something similar or all that the telecom companies would have to do is filter packets to kill off the MS telecom threat (a naive view). Gaming is also interesting and almost obvious - gaming is bigger than movies and that would likely help them cover losses from Office if their new idea falls through. And in what is likely an unintentional nod to Apple... they want things that "just work". And here is my education spin... why would an ed tech oriented individual care? MS has given us the Office suite that we use to teach with. It created the tool that students use to "learn" with and from. If there are major changes to Office, we shouldn't really be worried - if we have taught our people to understand the tool, then it should not really matter what it looks like. Granted this new version will likely introduce new headaches that the old one never did, but that is the price of progress. MS wanting increased integration though is a good thing and them wanting to get the XBox in the center of everything else will only make things easier to get the technology stragglers to see that times are changing and that computers are not always boxes and screens. The downside may be that because the integration may come via a "game console" many will simply disregard it. Technorati Tags: