In Gates' email, he outlines Microsoft's high level vision for Internet services:
"The broad and rich foundation of the internet will unleash a "services wave" of applications and experiences available instantly over the internet to millions of users. Advertising has emerged as a powerful new means by which to directly and indirectly fund the creation and delivery of software and services along with subscriptions and license fees. Services designed to scale to tens or hundreds of millions will dramatically change the nature and cost of solutions deliverable to enterprises or small businesses."
Ozzie's memo goes in-depth into the details of their strategy. I haven't yet digested it all, but his talk of competitors Google, Yahoo and Apple caught my eye:
"And while we continue to make good progress on these many fronts, a set of very strong and determined competitors is laser-focused on internet services and service-enabled software. Google is obviously the most visible here, although given the hype level it is difficult to ascertain which of their myriad initiatives are simply adjuncts intended to drive scale for their advertising business, or which might ultimately grow to substantively challenge our offerings. Although Yahoo also has significant communications assets that combine software and services, they are more of a media company and ñ with the notable exception of their advertising platform ñ they seem to be utilizing their platform capabilities largely as an internal asset. The same is true of Apple, which has done an enviable job integrating hardware, software and services into a seamless experience with dotMac, iPod and iTunes, but seems less focused on enabling developers to build substantial products and businesses."
Meanwhile, in 'official' company communications with the media, Steve Ballmer talks a little about their strategy with multimedia products like Xbox and Media Center - something which I have a particular interest in following (because I think they're going to be huge). Ballmer said:
"If you ask what will be the next very big business, I'd say probably tapped in there are the Live services and MSN, and then the Xbox and TV businesses. I mean, to be big numbers."