Dawn of a New Day « Ray Ozzie
In the realm of the service-centric ‘seamless OS’ we’re well on the path to having Windows Live serve as an optional yet natural services complement to the Windows and Office software. In the realm of ‘seamless productivity’, Office 365 and our 2010 Office, SharePoint and Live deliverables have shifted Office from being PC-centric toward now also robustly spanning the web and mobile. In ‘seamless entertainment’, Xbox Live has transformed Xbox into a real-time, social, media-rich TV experience.
Ozzie makes an obvious point: that Microsoft must leave the PC behind and embrace a more "Cloud" based multi-device computing world. Duh. I actually doubt anyone at Microsoft really doubts this. The question is can they deliver.
Part of the question is a solid yes in SharePoint. SharePoint is quickly becoming the collaboration and social networking platform of organisation and Enterprises. In time with Open Standards a eco-system of SharePoint based collaboration systems could even pose a real threat to the likes of Google and Facebook.
But Microsoft has not yet proved itself beyond boxes. It can make servers and it has even proven it can still make software for PCs, hell it is even impressing me on the virtual front recently now that I am working with some Hyper-V systems, but until I get to test Windows 7 my experiences are still with Windows 6.5 mobile, the systems I dropped RIM to move to only to return to RIM a year later.
Also there is sort of the problem of Microsoft charging .NET prices in a IaaS world. Just to get a pretty good MSDN to start development in VS2010 is going to set you back over a thousand US dollars. The end result being that start up low on cash are going to be attracted to PHP as the innovation framework of the future. And as more and more innovation is done by start-ups with PHP and other Open Source systems, perhaps firms will start taking a second look at the Microsoft Stack. Considering you can roll-out a Ubuntu desktop transformation with Office, and back end Drupal CMS with Linux servers on Apache for total cost of software coming in around oh about NOTHING, a long deep recession will possibly harm Microsoft.
But the recession is over and a solid SharePoint Cloud is still going to cost a lot less than trying to find Linux experts.