Windows Cloud

A few days ago I came across Microsoft’s announcement (or pre-announcement, as the launch is actually in 4 weeks) of Windows Cloud – an “operating system” for the “cloud.” (Note: there are certain things Ballmer says which seem vague or just don’t seem to make technical sense; I’m not sure what Ballmer means by .NET model or “operating system” in the given context. My overall assumption is that this is software for distributed computing of a web app)

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding cloud technologies in recent months with many looking forward to a future where most, perhaps all, of our data and software services are provided via. web servers. The hype is interesting as cloud computing already exists in many forms (facebook, internet email, Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, etc.) and it’s pretty much inevitable that we will continue to see similar technologies – so predicting we’ll see cloud technologies in the future is like predicting it’ll rain at some point in the future. As for whether this will completely supplant desktop software, I’m doubtful, there are a lot of issues that come with having your data and services on a vendor’s web server, not the least of which is that you don’t have access to them if your internet service goes down. That being said, I’m sure many companies are salivating at the thought of subscription-based SaaS applications and getting customers to pay a continual service fee to use their software. If that happens, we’re in for a pretty bleak future.

What’s interesting about Microsoft in all this is that while MS boasts a new “operating system for the cloud” and launches yet another web technology (they already have like a million “Live” services), it’s latest desktop operating system has encountered a slow and painful adoption due to issues which it seems to be totally ignored. Why is Microsoft ignoring its base and trying to jump on every new technology trend that hits the web? It doesn’t make sense, this does not seem to be how a company in Microsoft’s position should be acting. Microsoft built the bulk of its reputation through its operating system, even through all the growing pains of Windows 95 and Windows ME, why squander that now? Especially after hitting a high-note with Windows XP. With the way things are going Microsoft’s reputation will be one of a impotent juggernaut with a mediocre presence in every segment of the IT market. Microsoft seems to be a company that’s lost focus and direction. Perhaps it’s just gotten too big for its own good.

A great writeup I found after the announcement is here (I think I just stumbled upon this by googling “Windows Cloud”). I particularly like the closing paragraph,

This is not a company that knows what it’s doing. Ballmer and Gates were once masters of their universe. But nothing lasts forever. Ask Lehman Brothers.

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