Cloud OS spin
I don't see the big deal - this is just the ground work for the MS "Cloud OS" buzz - the Vista replacement that is theoretically 18 months away (two years between desktops now, remember?) This is why Vista has the DRM and why Server 2008 has the "components" that can be installed (or not) .. no? Let me explain ...
- There's the OS in the Could, based on Live* (previosly MSN*) services;
Sniffing out Microsoft's 'OS in the cloud' skunk-works project / November 28th 2006 (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=119)
"Over time, we're figuring out how Windows Live (meshes with)Windows," Berkowitz explained. "It's not so much a set of features that makes Windows what it is. Windows is a bunch of feature sets." And in the future, some of these features will reside in the "Internet cloud," while others will reside locally on PCs, cell phones and other devices.
Microsoft already is beginning to turn that part of the vision into reality with Windows Vista. With Vista, Microsoft will offer users links via which they can download a number of Live services, including Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail Desktop,Windows Live Mail and Windows Live OneCare.
- There's Ray Ozzie's new role at MS, and his network service OS integration;
Can Microsoft morph Windows into an Internet service? / November 27th, 2006 (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=116)
It seems Microsoft itself is considering seriously such a possibility. There's a nugget buried deep in a November 27 (ever so-dully-titled "Life After Vista: Can Microsoft Retool for Web?") Wall Street Journal story. Skip to the very end of the article and you'll find this little gem:
"Meanwhile, a cadre of respected Microsoft computer scientists and programmers formed a group under Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie to start building software that could be a critical piece of what Windows might become, say people familiar with the work. That group, says a person familiar with the matter, sees the future of Windows as much more as an Internet service than software that runs on a PC."
There's that Microsoft Patent from January;
- A Brave New Modular World - Another MS Patent Application / January 29th 2007 (http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2007012808444146)
The application relates to a method of delivery of operating systems where one initially obtains a very basic operating system (for example, one that can do little more than display a web browser restricted to one site or domain) and thereafter is presented with the option to select (and purchase) additional functionality.
- There's BillG's vision of the OS that comes after Vista (and his resignation);
Finally, Vista Makes Its Debut. Now What? Bill Gates explains why you should buy his new operating system, what he's doing next and why John Hodgman bugs him / February 1st 2007 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16934083/site/newsweek/)
I> So can you give us an indication of what the next Windows will be like?
B> Well, it will be more user-centric.
I> What does that mean?
B> That means that right now when you move from one PC to another, you've got to install apps on each one, do upgrades on each one. Moving information between them is very painful. We can use Live Services [a way to connect to Microsoft via the Internet] to know what you're interested in. So even if you drop by a [public] kiosk or somebody else's PC, we can bring down your home page, your files, your fonts, your favorites and those things. So that's kind of the user-centric thing that Live Services can enable. [Also,] in Vista things got a lot better with [digital] ink and speech but by the next release there will be a much bigger bet. Students won't need textbooks, they can just use these tablet devices. Parallel computing is pretty important for the next release. We'll make it so that a lot of the high-level graphics will be just built into the operating system. So we've got a pretty good outline.
- And there's Ballmer's little spin to the investor community;
Ballmer's list: Microsoft's CEO shares his top nine Microsoft growth picks / February 15th 2007 (http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=263)
I was surprised that Windows Live - supposedly one of Microsoft's most important strategic efforts - didn't make either of Ballmer's lists. Ballmer did mention services, but talked about it more from a platform perspective, than as a bunch of individual point products.
"We need a strong services platform" akin to Windows client and Windows server, Ballmer told analysts. "We are building a cloud platform." The cloud platform is Microsoft's evolving "Cloud OS" that will consist of a set of services that are an adjunct to Windows.
So the way it looks to me, Ballmer had better talk-up the Microsoft version of "the network is the computer", or his next OS might sink like a Vista. Of course, he'd also want to back-up that cloud talk with one hell of a solid security architecture, as the security industry has long used "the cloud" to represent miscellaneous evil; not the kind of place you'd put your enterprise's core/mission-critical infrastructure.