Steve Ballmer gave a live webcast today and said that Microsoft is betting its future on the cloud. He illustrated that by saying 70% of Microsoft's 40,000 employees are working on cloud related efforts. By next year, 90% of Microsoft employees will be working on cloud matters.
Ballmer spoke at the Allen Center on the University of Washington campus. He outlined five ways Microsoft is embracing cloud computing.
These are broad, almost vague views on the market. But they do give some guidance to Microsoft's direction:
- The cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities.
- The cloud learns and helps you learn, decide and take action.
- The cloud enhances your social and professional interactions.
- The cloud wants smarter devices.
- The cloud drives server advances that drive the cloud.
The discussion had its most interesting points in the last 30 minutes of the presentation when the talk turned to Microsoft's emphasis on software; maps and photos; Xbox and Windows Phone 7 Series.
At one point, Ballmer said that all software will eventually be in the cloud. Is Microsoft taking risks? This statement would seem to show that perhaps the political base at Microsoft is shifting just a bit from the desktop.
The maps, photos and Xbox demonstrations were captivating, showing the semantics of space in a cloud environment and how maps synthesize into 3D images.
With Xbox, we were reminded of the Windows Phone 7 interface, with the use of what looks like hubs that are presented as tiles. In the demo, each tile represented a different live TV show that people can watch with their friends in a virtual, animated environment.
The Cloud Wants Smart Devices: Not much in this except demonstrating Ballmer's belief in the "Internet of Things," where the cloud helps connect devices to undestand gestures, bringing together voice, touch, speech, all in one.
It's the future of the smart device that appears to have had had such an influence on Windows Phone 7 Series. He pointed to the mistakes Microsoft made with Windows Mobile. It was too focused on voice. The future of Windows is in the cloud. That goes for the Windows operating system and Windows Phone 7 Series.
A lot of people will say Microsoft is not in the game anymore. That notion can't be supported when you see Microsoft discussing realistic, intelligent views about the market and backing it with how the cloud applies to its products and services.
Still, Microsoft is as guilty as anyone for hyping the cloud and further obfuscating what is meant by cloud computing.
Really, Steve. Did you actually say "cloud in a box?"