July 10, 2007 11:47 AM PDT

Ballmer hints at Microsoft's future in the 'cloud'

Ballmer hints at Microsoft's future in the 'cloud'
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DENVER--Microsoft has its head in the Internet cloud.

The software maker has been talking for some time about its plans to have a full-fledged platform that lives on its servers, as opposed to a set of discrete services, as is the case today. However, the company has been extremely short on details. During a speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference here Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn't quite answer all the questions. But he did promise more news will come sooner rather than later, while also offering a few hints as to where the company is headed. During the presentation, Microsoft also pledged to share more information with partners and developers.

"This is an ambitious project for us but it is very important," Ballmer said. "We have a lot of news and things that we'll be talking about and unveiling...this year."

Ballmer said that later this year Microsoft will deliver the first version of a set of developer tools to build on top of Microsoft's Windows Live effort and noted that the tools will be based on .Net.

"We are in the process today of building out a services platform in the cloud," Ballmer said.

Doing so, however, will take time. It requires Microsoft to have a new computational model, a new storage model, a new virtualization model and more, Ballmer said.

Later during the talk, Windows Live general manager Brian Hall came out to demonstrate some of the existing partner opportunities. Hall also promised far more to come.

"Fundamentally, we are opening it up," he said. "What's ours is yours."

Ballmer also said that Microsoft is moving closer to offering a service based on its effort with Energizer, where Microsoft has been essentially managing the battery maker's desktop IT support for more than two years. Microsoft won't offer that full outsourcing ability, but will have a service around communications and collaboration that it will start selling "much more vigorously and transparently."

There is room for partners to both resell Microsoft's service or develop their own, differentiated service, he said.

"This is a case where we'll have a service...and we'll want to support you in having a service," Ballmer said.

Ballmer also said that Microsoft plans to rename its existing Office Live product with a small-business notation as the company introduces a separate set of Office Live services for individuals.

See more CNET content tagged:
Steve Ballmer, cloud, Microsoft Office Live, outsourcing, Microsoft Windows Live

36 comments

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Bill, before you go...
Fire Steve and put Ray Ozzie, Mike Nash or Rick Devenuti in place. I bet Steve doens't even know how to use a computer. How often do you think he needs tech support? The other folks are technical like you and a much better fit as a successor. Steve is a used car salesman who got real lucky. Maybe Steve could be a regional sales director or something like that but he has zero technical vision.
Posted by tgrenier (256 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Agreed...
I too, am worried about the future of Microsoft without Bill Gates. We have seen what can happen when the main "man" isn't at his company, too many times. Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, etc.. Bill is a computer guy he know hows to lead the company in the computer direction. While, yes Steve Balmer can lead finnacially, Microsoft is a computer software company and also needs someone their with the technology insight. I just hope that Microsoft doesn't become the next Apple, when Steve Jobs was dismissed so many years ago by John Scully. I really don't want to use Mac or Linux as a a primary, whether I am using it or supporting it at work.
Posted by StargateFan (122 comments )
Link Flag
Another day, another half baked.....
Amen.

What that article really said, is that MS has another half-baked concept it decided it needed to accounted to seem to be in touch with market. They?ll ?launch? the idea before they even know what it is about, try and fail to be fleet footed and agile, but stumble about for years.

And two weeks before all of this, somebody will have an 800 page book in the stores on how to program for it.
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
Link Flag
Bill, I agree....
I don't know what things are like from your perspective, but from where I'm sitting it's very obvious that Steve's gotta go.

I like Ray Ozzie a lot. He seems like a visionary and I think he gives Microsoft a new level of potential.

I also think you need to hire a bunch of fresh college students to reanimate Microsoft. I think it's in the best interest of your company as well as the consumer. Changes in the world happen generationally, and in between these waves of change there is a 20 to 30 year period where it's just the same old people doing the same old thing. Companies like Google are already riding the next wave, while yours seems to be dieing down.
Posted by coryschulz (326 comments )
Link Flag
Will it run on non-Windows computers?
One of the major reasons for moving to server based applications is the ability to use a client that runs a secure OS like Linux or OS X.

If these apps require a Windows desktop client then all the support and security problems of Windows will remain.
Posted by rcrusoe (1305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"If these apps require a Windows desktop client...
... then all the support and security problems of Windows will remain."; To come to think about it all, the move by IBM to sell its money losing PC Business to the Chinese was a darn "good" move after all especially with the focus now being on "server based applications"!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
As always, "There Can Be Nothing New Under The Sun"!
"The software maker has been talking for some time about its plans to have a full-fledged platform that lives on its servers, as opposed to a set of discrete services, as is the case today." BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: All have got to - W-A-R-P (OS/2) to see "life" in a galaxy of stars and other planets better! Do we need "Ballmer" to give us "hints"!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
OS/2 Headline
Commander_Spock, you'll be happy to know your precious OS/2 has actually made the news... prominently featured in ComputerWorld's article "The top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills".

NOBODY CARES ABOUT OS/2!
Posted by hounddoglgs (74 comments )
Link Flag
What's ours is yours
If you build it on top of there structure you are stuck with them forver.

George Scott
www.officezilla.com
Posted by georgescott (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Better "them" than...
... the Socialistic GPL Viral Continuum. At least you can "use Office 2007 today on your Desktop" and you know the "face" where it is coming from and where your money is going. If they all come to America; then, at least "jobs" are to be had!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
"What's ours is yours"? Wrong!
As a point of reference here is an extract from a 1998 Lotus Development Corporation communication; Re: Concerning the issues with 1-2-3 that are talked about in the documentation you gave me, most of the issues are related to converting files between older and newer versions of product and converting documents between Lotus and Microsoft. Anytime a file is saved backwards or saved with an older file format than the format the file was created under, such as saving a 1-2-3 , 97 file for Windows 95 into a WK1 format for DOS, then naturally we are expected to loose certain features due to technology and features that are present now that were not present 8 - 10 years ago. Similarly, if we try to convert a file from Lotus into Excel or Excel into Lotus, due to differences in the products not every feature will be converted perfectly with the file filters that are available. Both Lotus and Microsoft create similar spreadsheet programs; however, there are several differences in both programs and these differences will remain to distinguish the products apart. We do try to design conversion filters that will allow as much of the file formats as possible to be exchanged and converted without disrupting the actual file design and format.

In one of your letters you made mention of the @IRR and @ERR functions in the 1-2-3 product. By design the @IRR (notably "absent" in Open Office) will calculate the Internal Rate of Return; where the @ERR is used in conjunction with other formulas, posted was an "ERR" showing an error was received in the calculations. As far as I can see in the program I cannot find an @ERR function that will allow us to calculate an Economic Rate of Return"; not carefully where it says, "there are several differences in both (of these companies' programs and these differences will remain to distinguish the products apart"; so, they keep their differences and we keep our in order to differentiate between "them" and "us"!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
Will Never Work
It is a return to the days of the mainframe on a much larger scale. And I really don't feel like going into detail of my opinion, except it will not work.
Posted by StargateFan (122 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What makes you so sure that it "Will Never Work"!
... without even trying!!! LOTUS KONA ANYONE!

"Lotus brews potent Java with Kona":

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://morochove.com/watch/cw/ff70206.htm" target="_newWindow">http://morochove.com/watch/cw/ff70206.htm</a>

Think about "international" project collaboration, cooperation and cooperation from any part of the globe!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Link Flag
YAWN!
Another day, another recycled idea in the form of vaporware from
MS.


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Posted by Mark Greene (163 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whatever Happened?
Web based apps are going to be a reality. Rich client apps are
not ever going away. Whatever happened to the dreams we had
twenty plus years ago, about developing solutions to fit, and fix
problems. How did we (socially in this industry) arrive to a place
where we are looking for a panacea of a solution to fix all
problems?<p>Finally, for the first time, in the history of this
industry, we have RAM, DASD (hard drive space), Multiple core
CPUs, that put supercomputers of the past to shame. And what
are we doing with it? Coming up with crap @#$%^
solutions.<p>I agree with all the other posters, even though I
am not an MS fan, they need the right person at the healm, and
Ballmer is not it. We need MS, we need open source, we need
Apple, we need Linux. Why is it that everyone else is innovative,
and visionary, except the fattest cat on the block?
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft please get your head out of the cloud!
Please see the big picture. People do not like someone else controlling their assets, They would much rather be responsible for their own actions. Any person who entrusts their data to a single entity is a fool. A stupid fool at that. I am sorry if I offended any one on this, but any person who knows history understands exactly what I am talking about. If I am wrong with what I said please let me know.
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Reply Link Flag
here here
Just like music subscribing services have yet to crawl out of thier
low marketshare and profits.
Posted by weegg (849 comments )
Link Flag
M$ get your head out of your @$$ would be a bit more accurate
Hopefully one day soon Ballmer will stroke out in the middle of one of his tantrums and then MAYBE, just MAYBE, someone with some sense (not to mention a sense of responsibility to their customers) will take the reigns.
Posted by hounddoglgs (74 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting
Because many people see the future of computing as everything
being a web application - in which case someone else will be
controlling yoru data and assests and so forth. People would
essentially just be running thin clients. Personally I don't like this
idea but its very common in the community right now.
Posted by rapier1 (2722 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft clouds....
They should concentrate more on competing with Google. if not - say goodbye real soon.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://omadsense.com" target="_newWindow">http://omadsense.com</a>
Posted by medinaw (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer the "snake charmer"?
Anyone who listens to the s..t that comes out of his mouth deserves the c..p that MS puts them through!
Posted by oxtail01 (308 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think Ballmer meant to say
What's yours is ours. And what's ours is ours.

Neil Anderson
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.cyclelogicpress.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.cyclelogicpress.com</a>
Posted by cyclelogicpress.com (107 comments )
Reply Link Flag
or maybe...
"I-LOVE-THIS-CLOUD-COMPANY! YYYYEEEEEAAAAHHHH!"

good news: If he lives on a cloud, he can't throw chairs at anyone!
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Link Flag
Hey hey you you get off of my cloud!
The OS/2 cloud was first, get off of my cloud!
Posted by Thought Police OMalley (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Absolutely!
M$ future is in the cloud of flies feeding off it's bloated, odious corpse.
Posted by hounddoglgs (74 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer, get your head out of the clouds man...
and pass that billionare bong this way...
Excellant!
Yah.
Got any muchies?
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS Ballmer belongs in the cloud...
with all the other huge bloated wind bag zeppelins!

News Flash!
New Zune color : "cloud".
(comes pre-loaded with the 5D song " wouldn't you like to fly in
my beautiful balloon? UP! UP! and away, in my beautiful balloon")
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what is the next big thing in theory
Actually we are doing it in china and I am sure it gonna make huge sense shortly. I mean the future lies in web-based RSS and user-driven mashup, so the youtubes especially facebook vertically are in the right direction but not enough no wonder sometimes they will lost doing something offend their users. We must reject the concept doing the traditional Internet business let alone Operating systems like WebOs or Webservice Opening API. We must build the web as a platform which has dedicated subject and audience thus we can have control to the customer so that we can grasp the internetlised content and application, there is a chinese saying:&#30382;&#20043;&#19981;&#23384;&#27611;&#23558;&#28937;&#38468;. something like and Operator2.0, you know they have vendor of network equipment and handset maker help setup the infrastrcture and provide application then customers help themself generate content: voice, data and even more...But ours will quadplay within internet, software, hardware and media industry, like yahoo to media, salesforce to software, apple to hardware, so this is really gonna be future stuff and we are trying to make it in china. And cheers cause definetely we have entered into an era of unified competition totally (&#21516;&#36136;&#21270;&#20840;&#31454;&#20105;)thanks to the fantastic spurt of ICT and TMT world tend to be flat. I am pretty much sure it will shape the brand new future of this whole TMT&#38;ICT industry.
How:
vision, mission, strategy
vision, focus, execuation
innovation: speed and simplicity
engineering: user experience and security

4more turn to waulerwauler#gmail.com
Posted by wauler (9 comments )
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