Ballmer Gets A Pair Of Wings, Flies Into The Cloud
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It has oft been said that Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, is the antithesis of Steve Jobs. While Jobs is viewed commonly as the artistic designer and creative genius of the computing world, Ballmer is the brick and mortar business man, known for constantly playing catch-up on new ideas. However, it appears Ballmer wants to dispel the belief that Microsoft can’t be creative.
To prove it, Ballmer explained Microsoft’s deep interest in the cloud to a crowd at University of Washington. Stevie is planning to get heavily invested in what he is valuing as a $3.3 trillion industry. That’s absolutely massive, and there is no wonder why he and the rest of Redmond are taking it seriously. He broke up his talk into five major points:
- “The Cloud Creates Opportunities and Responsibilities”
- “The Cloud Learns and Helps You Learn, Decide and Take Action”
- “Cloud Enhances Social and Professional Interactions”
- “The Cloud Wants Smarter Devices”
- “The Cloud Drives Servers Advances That Drive the Cloud”
One surprising aspect of Ballmer’s approach was his emphasis on the quality of consumer devices and hardware. Much of cloud theory has been based on the idea processing should happen server-side and minimize the amount of work the client needs to do. In layman’s terms: complicated stuff happens in the cloud, and you just get the product. Ballmer appears to be arguing instead that if processing on the client end delivers better content at a lower cost than bandwidth enhancement, then we should be making better products to work with the cloud. His example of choice was the Windows Phone 7 Series.
Still, the most important things to take away from this are twofold. Firstly, the cloud is here to stay. Learn to love it. Secondly, all members of the computing triumvirate have now tossed their hats into the next great war of the information age: Apple with the iPhone/iPad App Store and MobileMe, Google with Google Apps, and Microsoft with Windows/Xbox Live. Let’s see who has what it will take to become this decade’s premier content provider.