The next Windows client and the next Windows Live: a seamless experience is an opportunity for individuals, organisations, businesses   Leave a comment

A valuable ZDNet feature in their "All About Microsoft" column points to another chance for Microsoft to spot a need and an opportunity, and choose how to meet it. Here it is:

Microsoft memo: Windows 7 and Windows Live to be even more tightly joined at the hip by ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley — The "plus" in Microsoft’s Software+Services strategy is going to get a lot more oomph in the not-too-distant future — at least according to a planning memo for Windows Live Wave 3 that I had a chance to see recently.
Here is the full post.

So, what is it about this time?
This time, it’s about giving individuals, then businesses, the best possible services by providing the richest and more effective tools on the most current and valuable IT platform. This time, the IT platform is web 2.0 in some of its many names.
[What about the other times? Some of them were: the word processor; the spreadsheet; the office productivity suite; the web browser; the runtime enterprise computing environment (that’s .NET vs. Java)… and the compiler and the personal computer operating system before them, and the multimedia consumer platform and IP TV and others after them.]
What will Microsoft do this time to enter – influence – own the new platform?
I venture the following forecasts: 
  • in a year it will be fully apparent how much Microsoft has already bet the farm to build a version of the new platform that combines locally resident and run computing resources – on Windows – to web-based ones – either on Windows Live or on more "open" platforms.
    This is what Software+Services is most about, ever since the first demo of a desktop Vista application for a real estate agent years ago showed information about geographics, demography, real property management obtained through web services and combined with "local, own" information to help a realtor decide how to buy or sell.
    This is how Microsoft may preserve some of its positioning as consumer computing moves on to web 2.0.
  • At first, they will be the only major player to do so, with all others betting on web-only applications.
  • A key factor in giving Microsoft a chance for success is how Microsoft will allow its platform to be "open" to – mesh with – others. How effective will Microsoft’s solution be in each and all of the following?
    • leveraging resources and services made available on the web by other platforms
    • making resources and services from Windows Live available to consumers of other platforms
    • still managing to provide an incremental user experience advantage for users and developers of Windows clients and the Windows server and Windows Live platforms
  • This time, Microsoft will focus many more resources on "openness" in the sense above – at least compared with the "total alternative" of the .NET proposition vs. Java and the even more radical approaches of the browser and office suite wars.
    One key reason is lessons learned from Microsoft’s struggle in the media platform war, most notably around the two key question of "what is the physical form of the media platform?" and "what is the role of the Microsoft desktop client and home server in it?"
  • If Microsoft gets adequate focus on the "openness" of their S+S platform in the sense above, we will all get enough benefit from it that it will succeed, and consumer opinion will actually be quite positive about it.
  • Finally, a measure of Microsoft’s success will be how much other players will accept the whole turf (local devices, including Windows, plus the web, plus everybody’s own proprietary devices) as the competition field. That can be a welcome target and benchmark of competition-boosting interventions: helping competition thrieve to everybody’s benefit while stopping short of a full-scale war, so allowing many competitors – of different kinds, sizes and strategies – a level playing field.

Posted January 26, 2008 by Gianluca Marcellino in Computer e Internet

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