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Ballmer Teases Software-Plus-Services in '07

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the my-year-is-complete dept.

Microsoft 168

Robert writes with a link to a CBR article hinting that Microsoft's vision of software-plus-services may begin to form this year. The idea is that an online version of Windows, plus a 'cloud' of related services and collaboration software, will allow a user to access their content from anywhere and (theoretically) be more productive. "In broad strokes, that vision is to build a set of services for servers, clients and mobile devices in the Internet cloud, with a new model of computation and user interface. Ballmer seemed to suggest the first of these services would launch, in some form, later this year. Underpinning these services would be a "cloud platform," which is the Windows Live Core architecture the company is working on. 'We are in the process today of building out a service platform in the cloud,' Ballmer said. 'We're building out a service-based infrastructure, not server by server but a new management model, a new device model, new storage, networking, computational model from the get-go.'"

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168 comments

fuck you and him (0, Flamebait)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | about 7 years ago | (#19841511)

throw that fat fuck a chair!

They'll be no Cloud Platform for Jim Black (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841683)

See why at Globaltics [globaltics.net]

Ballmer's response to Google (4, Funny)

nanosquid (1074949) | about 7 years ago | (#19841545)

Monkey see, monkey do, monkey dance.

Re:Ballmer's response to Google (1)

EvilEddie (243404) | about 7 years ago | (#19841585)

oh stevie, tease me! tease me!

Damn well-built house of cards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841931)

Apparently Ballmer wants to build his own house of cards.

Re:Ballmer's response to Google (1)

wally40 (991525) | about 7 years ago | (#19842895)

This was Bill Gates original hopes for Microsoft, but was convinced by other sources that it would not fly.

I don't have any sources, only cause I can't remember were I read/heard it, so take this statement accordingly. :)

Super-sharepoint? (2, Informative)

RManning (544016) | about 7 years ago | (#19841555)

We're starting to see the beginings of this concept with Sharepoint 2007. Somehow, at least at my job, this idea of easy, integrated unstructured content sharing has become a big deal. Our users don't seem to care, but the big-wigs writing the checks do. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how they pull this off.

aka samba Re:Super-sharepoint? (1)

twitter (104583) | about 7 years ago | (#19841631)

Our users don't seem to care, but the big-wigs writing the checks do.

That would be because they have more than one computer and are tired of M$'s lack of sharing tools. The lack of simple tools becomes apparent when you use a laptop or home system for work. Emailing stuff to yourself gets old fast. As little as grsync would make these people happy.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how they pull this off.

It's going to be clumsy because they won't just work with other people. They could just make some utilities to work with samba, but they are going to make something of their own or steal some other non free tool.

Re:Super-sharepoint? (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 7 years ago | (#19841719)

Sharepoint is easy? I'd rather use mediawiki, thanks.

Re:Super-sharepoint? (2, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 7 years ago | (#19842603)

The one thing MediaWiki is missing for me (I often try to roll out wikis for projects at work) is rich text editing in the browser, at least on par with writely, as well as spreadsheet integration. The fact that you can open documents on a Sharepoint server in your fat client editor and have everything magically find its way back to the cloud thingy is quite a win. Writely and Google spreadsheets are still pretty primitive, at about the level of Office 4.

Is there any OpenOffice-Mediwiki middleware out there? Seems like the perfect FOSS response to Sharepoint, something that would allow editing on the client, keep things synchronized on the cloud or whatever, announce changes through unified messaging to observers, etc etc. Apple's leopard server is supposed to have a wiki with a browser-based rich text editor (probably so their iPhone users don't feel left out), and it's also supposed to be open source, but I'm not sure that's as full-stack as Sharepoint at the moment (even if, in the end, it's the better solution for most, on account of its price).

You mean like - .Mac? (1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#19841599)

I can already place files to view from anywhere on .Mac, and it also syncronizes a number of things across multiple computers.

Apple hasn't done a lot with it beyond those things to date, but hints that is about to change... I'd say they have a head-start on Microsoft, yet again.

Re:You mean like - .Mac? (4, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | about 7 years ago | (#19841697)

Apple hasn't done a lot with it beyond those things to date, but hints that is about to change... I'd say they have a head-start on Microsoft, yet again.

They sure do have a head start on Microsoft, including the "it will only work well with our own OS" part.

I think the real leaders in this area are the companies that have figured out how to offer these services in an OS-neutral way and how to integrate mobile and desktop usage. Neither Microsoft nor Apple have done that.

Re:You mean like - .Mac? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | about 7 years ago | (#19841981)

Apple's .Mac is mostly a collection of open standards. They're obviously about ready to take that mobile. .Mac could definitely be integrated with Windows applications (license permitting).

Re:You mean like - .Mac? (0, Flamebait)

nanosquid (1074949) | about 7 years ago | (#19842115)

Apple's .Mac is mostly a collection of open standards.

Brilliant, dude: so you can invest a few man-years to develop software that Apple can choose to break with their next update and that then provides unsupported access to a $100 service that other companies largely provide for free. This amazing degree of openness on the part of Apple is hard to beat!

They're obviously about ready to take that mobile.

They already did: if you buy a Mac and an iPhone, then you can access your .Mac data from your iPhone. Will the wonders never cease!

Wrong again (0, Flamebait)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#19842619)

They already did: if you buy a Mac and an iPhone, then you can access your .Mac data from your iPhone. Will the wonders never cease!

The really funny thing is, that the one valid complaint you could level against .Mac you got wrong!

Currently you can't really access .Mac beyond the web based features - no accessing stored files, or in fact synchronizing account passwords onto the iPhone as you can with other Macs through .Mac. That, to me, is puzzling but probably another aspect they will address later this year.

Re:You mean like - .Mac? (1)

ThosLives (686517) | about 7 years ago | (#19842709)

$100 service that other companies largely provide for free.

Well, it's free to the end user, but that hosting isn't free. Instead of paying directly, those "free" services are typically supported by advertisements or some other form of indirect revenue.

While I admit that I abuse some free services (because, in having a positive savings rate of higher than 10% I don't support the advertisement machine as much as the average), I don't have a problem with companies that *gasp* charge for the services they provide directly to those using the service.

It's arguably more honest than being a sort of agent for the folks buying the advertisements: Hey, pay us some money, and we'll get all these people to look at you!

Re:You mean like - .Mac? (2, Informative)

johnalex (147270) | about 7 years ago | (#19842135)

Actually, Apple's .Mac utilities certainly work on other operating systems. You can store your documents on your iDisk and then access your documents from any machine with the iDisk utilities installed. This includes your Windows machine at work, if you're not blessed to use a Mac both places.

 

Not true, works on many OS'es (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#19842531)

They sure do have a head start on Microsoft, including the "it will only work well with our own OS" part.

Actually that's not so, they have a Windows client you can use to get to files, and of course a web interface for accessing other .Mac features.

User # 25149 (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | about 7 years ago | (#19841839)

I can already place files to view from anywhere on .Mac, and it also syncronizes a number of things across multiple computers. Apple hasn't done a lot with it beyond those things to date, but hints that is about to change... I'd say they have a head-start on Microsoft, yet again.

OK, dude, the days of praising Apple and saying how they're ahead of everyone for a quick karma hit are gone. I know, I know, you were here when /. was hosted on Apple][s; but times change. I know old timer, these young'uns don't respect anything anymore.

Quick karma hits come from praising F/OSS - that's Free and Open Source Software projects. And saying how big corporations and IP law are killing innovation.

It's OK, I'm on my way out too.

See how quickly times change. After I wrote this and hit 'Preview' you were up to "+2 Interesting from "-1 Troll". God! I'm getting old. Where's my walker and get off of my lawn!

Re:User # 25149 (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 7 years ago | (#19842649)

Indeed, I'm old enough not to care about Karma any longer... However, I also have lots of praise to offer up for OSS as well, when those stories come down the pike. :-)

Software as a service or even plus a service... (1, Interesting)

GeneralEmergency (240687) | about 7 years ago | (#19841617)


...is still fundamentally a form of "computing socialism" with the vendor adopting the role of the "State", and as such, will fail because people fundamentally distrust others and do not like to be reliant on others when it can be trivally avoided (Linux). Let MS move in this direction.

They will be quite lonely in their brave new world.

Re:Software as a service or even plus a service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841771)

They will be quite lonely in their brave new world.

Heh, I'm curious to see which is going to win out here:

  • M$ sucks and this is teh worstest thing evar!
  • Typical M$ "innovation", copying Google's invention of buying companies making web-based applications.

Re:Software as a service or even plus a service... (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 7 years ago | (#19841829)

What?

Are you kidding? That has got to be one of the worst analogies I've seen here in a long time -- and this is slashdot, for crying out loud.

Socialism is, at its foundation, public ownership and control of both the State and the means of production. Socialism tends to also mean redistribution of wealth, destruction of the elite, and raising the minimum standard of living (including working conditions, etc). What in Dog's name does any of that have to do with S+S?

A more apt analogy would be that MS is acting as a private company with control over public infrastructure. To make a politicoeconomic analogy (just as ridiculous, but closer to the truth) like yours, this is more like fascism (collaboration of industry & state, with autocratic leadership). Or rampant capitalism, where access to capital (and hence, the resources to build infrastructure) defines who rules and who controls production.

At any rate, there is no way you can compare a *voluntary* commercial system with a *compulsory* politicoeconomic one.

Re:Software as a service or even plus a service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841979)

"At any rate, there is no way you can compare a *voluntary* commercial system with a *compulsory* politicoeconomic one."

Use of Microsoft products is about as "voluntary" as breathing air or drinking liquid: if you want to participate in the modern economy and tech life, you essentially can't avoid using Microsoft products even if you think they work like shit and Microsoft should be paying you to use them.

Microsoft's market position is neither socialism nor fascism, it's a monopoly, which is almost as bad.

Re:Software as a service or even plus a service... (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about 7 years ago | (#19841873)

It's not software socialism, it's software fascism.

OSS is software communism (that's not an insult).

Re:Software as a service or even plus a service... (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | about 7 years ago | (#19841891)

There is no requirement that a user rely upon the web service for functionality, but it may well be more convenient and cost effective. You need local computing power and storage if your connectivity is uncertain or if you trust your service provider less than you do yourself. If you have reliable networking, then other options come into play. Given most user's difficulty in properly administering their systems, a "managed cloud" is a reasonable solution. Given the economies of scale here, you will have a major service centers in the cloud - Google, Live, probably Yahoo, and a few others. The cloud approach will be particularily important as increasing numbers of users use their phones as their primary device. In such cases, having available back-end services and storage will be particularily important. It is not at all evident that PC's are more cost effective than back-end based approaches, particularily for users who are willing to consume targeted advertising (note: I am NOT such a user).

Wrong (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 years ago | (#19841953)

people fundamentally distrust others and do not like to be reliant on others when it can be trivally avoided (Linux).

A. Nothing about Linux is trivial unless it comes on an embedded device. That's FUD.
B. Security is too important to be (mis) managed in house for small companies. I WANT to outsource all of my IT stuff so that I don't have to deal with it in house. I'd like to have off-site file serving, mail, web (the last two we have already outsourced). If broadband ever gets to be more reliable, I'd even consider outsourcing app hosting, as well.

Re:Software as a service or even plus a service... (4, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | about 7 years ago | (#19842305)

(..) because people fundamentally distrust others and do not like to be reliant on others when it can be trivally avoided (Linux)

And nowadays, >90% of desktop users run a closed source OS on their desktop, that automatically downloads and installs updates with unknown contents, whenever the user goes online. And extend it by clicking 'download plugin' whenever something appears to be missing or not working. And keep their mail online on their ISP's servers. And share their family pics online using a photo sharing site that popped up 2 months ago. That is in practice different from software-as-a-service, ehm... how?

If your assumption were true, people would flock en masse to Linux and other Free/OS systems, because it is easy enough (if you care).

Personally, I use Linux because (among other reasons) I have more trust in an open source system maintained by many groups of developers, that work on it for fun and a variety of other reasons, than I would trust a closed source system maintained by a single company, that does it just for the money. But hey, that's just me.

The current state of affairs tells me, that the average Jane trusts a closed source, commercial OS enough to do her daily work, and process sensitive data with it. Software-as-a-service is then just a streamlining of current software distribution methods. So people are ready for that, even if they don't realise it.

Why software-as-a-service is not the norm yet? Bandwidth limitations? Because no company did a solid execution of the idea so far? Copyright issues with 3rd party software? Because people are used to buying install CD's or computers with preloaded OS? As opposed to a bare minimal software install, and downloading the rest after hooking up the broadband connection? Hey wait, aren't folks already doing that anyway, sort of?

Who knows... My guess: it just hasn't been done yet (large scale, and well executed), but not because it wouldn't be possible.

Storm Comin' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841619)

The idea is that an online version of Windows, plus a 'cloud' of related services
Uh, see that cloud? Storm on the horizon, my trick knee's actin' up agin. Better get the Zune and squirt some more soothing music on it.

Microsoft Buzz Words
Entertaining me since 1989

Re:Storm Comin' (1)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about 7 years ago | (#19841847)

Coming soon...Microsoft Cloud...taking vaporware to new, stratospheric heights!!

Mosquitos (3, Funny)

sprior (249994) | about 7 years ago | (#19841623)

Think cloud of mosquitos, all annoying you and trying to suck you dry...

Re:Mosquitos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841785)

Carrying maleria and other nasty viruses...

Re:Mosquitos is correct. (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 7 years ago | (#19842021)

how is this off topic? if MSFT is involved you will have to pay to access your own data, and if you miss a payment or are late with it you lose all your data. The same goes for network neutrality. it's just the ISPs who want to nickel and dime you to death.

The Dot-Bomb of this decade is brewing and it will be these "software as services" repeating the mistakes of AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy again. Apparently we don't learn from history, thus making us doomed to repeat it.

Re:Mosquitos (1)

arclyte (961404) | about 7 years ago | (#19842593)

Hmm, I was thinking more of a big dark thundercloud come to blow out all access to the files I need when their server goes down for maintenance or some such.

Ballmer wears Kick Me Anti-Trust (1)

aisnota (98420) | about 7 years ago | (#19841655)

Microsoft API's for software developers is food for anti-trust lawyers. Now they are requiring Microsoft payments for third party software developers. or anti-trust tying kicks in on this right away.

Google needs to defeat this digital locker scheme is one hundred percent under the thumb of Microsoft. Time to break up Microsoft, Microsoft Live, Applications and Operating Systems along with Media properties.

Five business units, each shareholder would get a unit of each one in such a great split up.

Vista digital locker seems like a way for forcing all purchases , registrations and technical product keys all go through Microsoft.

Call your congress critter on this break up!

I just read about one of their new protocols... (0, Redundant)

Starteck81 (917280) | about 7 years ago | (#19841667)

It was called TCP/IP/OFC. It's Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol/ On Flying Chairs.

2007 huh? (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 7 years ago | (#19841679)

OK, I'll hold my breath, because Microsoft always ships on schedule.

thin client (2, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 7 years ago | (#19841681)

Now that internet access is ubiquitous, fast, and reliable, the age of the thin client may really be upon us. Though thin clients have been touted in the past and failed, the state of the internet has never been ready to handle thin clients in the past. This has changed.

Home users and small business simply should not have to worry about maintaining firewalls, patches, backups, revision control, document sharing services, and all the other mess that comes with typical PC use. They have only done it so far because there was no other option. Now things are changing, and I welcome it. The only people who will lose out on this are the low-level tech support types and small business IT technicians. With today's unemployment rates, this isn't a huge problem.

Yay, progress!

Re:thin client (1)

vivaoporto (1064484) | about 7 years ago | (#19841799)

The more we progress, the more we stay at the same place. Lookup the Cycle of Reincarnation [foldoc.org] on the jargon file, we are switching from thick clients to thin clients and back since the mainframes, and will continue switching as long as computing power, bandwidth and resource demand grow at different rates, leading to an asymmetric relation among those three factors.

Re:thin client (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | about 7 years ago | (#19841813)

Now that internet access is ubiquitous, fast, and reliable
Hahahahhahaha.....you must not be an American.

Well, there are other hindrances (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 years ago | (#19841849)

These are similar to what killed the whole idea back when MSFT first touted it.

Software isn't like Cable TV, Phone, or similar home services. After all, I don't put my personal data into any of those, and I certainly don't use them to store my own files. If Joe Sixpack misses the 'rent' on his thin client, he's screwed... hard. Even if his files were stored locally, he'd have a very hard time opening media files which can only be opened by the thin client (yes, I can see MSFT --or someone else-- doing that very easily to produce a literal lock-in).

A thin client would certainly free up the average user from routine tasks... but what if the user prefers to use, say IrfanView [irfanview.com] for managing and viewing his/her image files, instead of whatever the vendor has provided (prolly the MS default image viewer)? I sincerely doubt that the vendor is going to let said user simply install whatever he/she wants, since it would become a logistical nightmare to support on the back end.

There's still too much room for abuse... on all sides. It removes consumer choice from the equation entirely, unless consumers can organize en masse and simply shift to a friendlier provider. Boycotts of that size, especially with personal data and files at stake, will be infinitely harder to organize and execute. Even regular ones today are tough enough to pull off.

Technically, I think it's damned fine. VM's for corporate users saves a ton of cash in hardware. OTOH, those corporations aren't as willing to trust their secrets and business on VM servers that they don't own. Users have very similar reasons.

Don't get me wrong, I can see it happening on some levels... but I just don't see any mass shift towards it (what... you think Joe Sixpack wants his vendor to keep his tax records --or conversely, his pr0n collection-- and not have them within immediate and total control?)

/P

Re:thin client (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19841877)

From a home-user perspective, I kinda of hate the idea of thin clients (as well as software as a service). I don't want to be limited by the speed of my internet connection (unless I have the 40GB/s one mentioned earlier). And I don't want to lose total functionality because of something beyond my control up the pipe. And if I have a version of software I'm happy with, I don't want to be "upgraded" to a less stable or more bloated version because the software company decides to do it for me.

Re:thin client (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 7 years ago | (#19841947)

Yes, I'm sure there is a very small number of people who share your opinion. I used to be one of them. My email, calendar, and web server were all hosted on my home systems. I had total control. But I realized that every time I had to reformat, move, change IPs, or whatever, I was in for a world of hurt. Especially if it came at a bad time for me socially. I moved everything over to Google Apps for My Domain, and I don't have to worry about a thing. My friends no longer get bounced emails if my power blinks while I'm on vacation.

So yes, this is progress even from the perspective of some highly technical home users.

Re:thin client (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19842017)

>>My email, calendar, and web server were all hosted on my home systems

I think you are talking about extremes here. I have no wish to host my own email or web server at home, but I don't want somebody else to host my porn files, word processor, games, etc...

Re:thin client (3, Interesting)

Shotgun (30919) | about 7 years ago | (#19841943)

Network access within a corporation has been ubiquitous, fast, and reliable for the past 20 years and thin clients haven't gotten far. So now that Microsoft enters the fray with their swiss-cheese virus fodder, we're supposed to surrender our data to some poorly defined "cloud" network. Not only do we have the problems of maintaining a network well enough to get our data in house, but the data is surrendered to a company that has shown time after time that it is willing to cut the nuts off of a business partner for a dollar.

No. This is nothing more that Microsoft's swan song. Vista is a bust, and their lunch is slowly being eaten by Apple and Linux. They're scrambling to find something to replace the glory products of yesteryear as they slowly slip into irrelevancy. The company still has some power left to broker, but it is slipping away at an increasing rate as people realize that there are better products to be had for less money.

Software as a service is a valid business model. It actually works in some situations. But Microsoft's view of it is a way to rent their software, with the idea of retaining more control, the emphasis being on control/revenue retention vs supplying a service. I expect Microsoft will push this as hard as they possibly can, and make some significant wins (No one every got fired....). I also expect they will have an even larger defection rate to open source solutions. If you're going to rent solutions, you might as well rent the ones that work and the prices are lower because there's competition.

Re:thin client (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 7 years ago | (#19841967)

I don't think these sorts of services are really well-fit for large corps with their own IT departments. But home and small business users don't have IT departments, nullifying your complaint.

Re:thin client (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | about 7 years ago | (#19842217)

Microsoft has suggested this type of thing before and it never took off. It is not a swan song - they just see what Google is doing and are moving that direction as something of a hedge. Netscape years ago tried to push itself as a sort of thin client platform, and MS responded by talking some about software-as-service type stuff even back then.

I think MS is setting pretty happy. There is nothing really on the horizon that threatens Office or Windows right now except if Google ever became successful as an application sever. They are just hedging their bets, but you see how successful Netscape was.

Re:thin client (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#19841975)

Though thin clients have been touted in the past and failed, the state of the internet has never been ready to handle thin clients in the past. This has changed.

Thin clients failed because they offer an awful user experience. That hasn't changed at all. The web browser is still an AWFUL application platform. For buying insurance online, its fine, but otherwise its crap.

You'd think they would learn by now... (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 years ago | (#19841685)

"Software as a Service" died back in 2000... why does MSFT keep insisting on bringing it back up?

Sure, the growth of virtualization might make some aspects more palatable, but others (like, you know, "control") are simply not going to be ameliorated by repackaging.

It's almost like MSFT has been on a re-run kick lately... Software-as-Service, Tablets (okay, "tables" now), etc...

It would be damned interesting to see MSFT come up with a new idea that folks actually like, instead of chasing others' successes (e.g. with xbox and Zune and IE, to varying degrees of success), or trying to rehash their failed ones.

/P

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 7 years ago | (#19841715)

Calling it a day would be a new idea.

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | about 7 years ago | (#19841817)

It would be damned interesting to see MSFT come up with a new idea that folks actually like, instead of chasing others' successes (e.g. with xbox and Zune and IE, to varying degrees of success), or trying to rehash their failed ones.

Except, as far as I can tell, they've never done that. The core of their business model is to either copy other people's successful ideas (sometimes after buying them, sometimes without), or just take an idea that hasn't ever been successful, and use their weight to ram it down people's throats regardless.

They have no experience in the creation-of-new-novel-stuff department. Someday, that's going to catch up with them and be their undoing, but with so much money to burn, it could take an exceptionally long time.

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (2, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | about 7 years ago | (#19841831)

They're trying to bring it back because they think that there's a fuck-ton of money to be made renting you services and locking your data up in their proprietary formats. Essentially right now businesses can choose when (or if) they want to upgrade. A "software subscription" will cost as much or more than the current upgrade schedule and will will guarantee much more regular payments to Microsoft. Also, moving to that type of platform would make it much harder to pirate their software. That'd make it possible to tap those currently-untappable markets where 90% or more of the windows systems are running pirated copies of Windows.

Plus Microsoft is always about 5-10 years behind everyone else when it comes to "innovation" so they're just now hearing those buzz words that (in their time warped universe) will have nearly destroyed Sun in a couple of years. Poor guys don't even know about 9/11 yet...

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (1)

plague3106 (71849) | about 7 years ago | (#19842011)

Plus Microsoft is always about 5-10 years behind everyone else when it comes to "innovation" so they're just now hearing those buzz words that (in their time warped universe) will have nearly destroyed Sun in a couple of years.

So, how far behind is the OSS community? What "innovations" have come from that camp?

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19842595)

Uh... the internet?

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (1)

Coryoth (254751) | about 7 years ago | (#19842319)

"Software as a Service" died back in 2000... why does MSFT keep insisting on bringing it back up?
Software as a service is alive and well, just not in quite the form it was originally brought up as. I mean let's face it, isn't Ubuntu essentially software as a service, where you "cache the software locally", but ultimately have access to a vast library of software via a service (apt-get, which suitable graphical front-ends). It's certainly easy enough to use that way. Need a program to do X right now? Click a button and it's ready to use. Done doing X and don't need the software for a while? Click a button and it's gone, but is ready and waiting to be pulled down from the service the next time you need it. Sure you're not using a foreign server to run the applications (and certainly aren't paying "per use" fees), but you are using a foreign server to store your applications, and only bothering to keep local copies of what you need and want ready access to at the moment. Ubuntu without a network connection is really just a pale shadow of the system attached to the network. And the same goes for most other ditributions these days. There's even Click'n'Run which introduces the pay part of the service.

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19842487)

You sir are a moron.

Re:You'd think they would learn by now... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 years ago | (#19842523)

I hear they will be releasing this incredibly phone that works just like the Zune and has multimedia, internet and is easy to use!

That's an original idea... oh wait.

Sure likes the word "cloud" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841693)

How many times did he put that in there?

Who cares? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841699)

Does anyone with a clue still use Microsoft garbage. Ballmer should stick to chair throwing and other activities befitting of a Neanderthal running a dinosaur company.

Heh. Seen this before. (5, Interesting)

Brad Eleven (165911) | about 7 years ago | (#19841725)

I once worked for an incredibly successful consulting firm: 2 to 1500 employees in five years, $1M to $500M in revenue, true employment (not "as long as we have a customer for you"), many other examples of goodness and light. It was bought for cash by a huge telecom, who thought that we could deliver on such a vague promise as "remotely managed software services."

In fairness, the idea was already being floated about, that we could just set up NOCs/ROCs all over the place and somehow, magically, deliver as many services as a demand existed for. The telecom just drooled over it; circa 1997, they were all watching the biscuit wheels falling off of the long-distance gravy train.

Of course, the behemoth telecom sealed the coffin by demanding that we try to make their broken attempts at non-remote service offerings work. I left when they decreed that Windows NT would be the only OS running on any of their machines. They sold off little pieces of the original firm. Last I heard, a few ex-managers got together and bought what was left of it in order to use the brand name.

I'm not saying that M$ can't eventually pull this off. If any existing entity could make it work, they could. I base this on their mind-numbing ability to handle huge problems that, you know, "no one could have expected." That is, if they really try to do this, it will fail, over and over again. Only M$, IMO, has the resources to survive these failures. And only M$ could command such a vast array of excellent talent and manage to turn out such mediocre products.

It looks to me more like they're trying to imitate what they think Google is.

Re:Heh. Seen this before. (2, Informative)

Knitebane (64590) | about 7 years ago | (#19842849)

I see you worked for International Network Services too.

Stop with the fucking clouds already! (5, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about 7 years ago | (#19841739)

Seriously, what's up with all the clouds Ballmer?

I suppose it's an apt term. Something that seems big and impressive from a long way away but if you get up close you see it's nothing more than vapour, completely intangible.

Re: New Clouds (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 7 years ago | (#19842541)

I will add:

Smog Cloud!
Methane Cloud!
ThunderStorm Cloud!

What a great way to sell services. Every single instance of a cloud is bad news.

access files from anywhere (0)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 7 years ago | (#19841763)

SO now hackers will be able to access my files from anywhere!

I cant wait to sell my soul to MS!

Re:access files from anywhere (1)

phedre (1125345) | about 7 years ago | (#19841821)

You already sold your soul to MS if you ever accepted an EULA ;)

Re:access files from anywhere (1)

joshuac (53492) | about 7 years ago | (#19841843)

SO now hackers will be able to access my files from anywhere!

Certainly you don't think this is a new feature?

Re:access files from anywhere (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 years ago | (#19842167)

If you think that's cool, wait'll you see how fast malware can spread without all those long-haul router and network hindrances, on client machines that are (by then) operating 24/7.

It's enough to make the likes of Symantec turn white and faint from exhaustion in trying to keep up.

/P

Who is this good for? (4, Interesting)

hazee (728152) | about 7 years ago | (#19841777)

This seems to be entirely for the benefit of Microsoft - their wanting to secure a regular income, with the benefits to the customer a distant second.

After all, why go to all the trouble of pushing Vista or its (likely even less popular) successors on an uninterested public, when you can just bill them monthly?

What do we as customers get out of it? The ability to access our data remotely? I can largely already do that - the things I'm most likely to want access to, such as mail, are well catered for by multiple webmail operations, and it's notable that MS has managed to so badly screw up Hotmail if this is where they're aiming.

As for other apps, I suspect that network bandwidth is going to put a stop to many of those plans.

Not to mention the issue of trust - would *you* trust MS with all your data. Again, judging by the success of their Passport scheme, it looks like a resounding NO!

I find it rather ironic that MS came to prominence precisely because they gave us control over our own computers, rather than being beholden to a single central controller, and now they want to be that controller.

Re:Who is this good for? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 7 years ago | (#19842815)

This seems to be entirely for the benefit of Microsoft - their wanting to secure a regular income, with the benefits to the customer a distant second.

If Microsoft pulled an iTunes, and offered me an up-to-date version of Word and Excel for $5 a month, I'd probably be really interested, but alas, that's not anything like what they're offering.

They're not really selling software as a service, they're selling space on SMB servers and a one-click action in Office to put your data on it. Your data is what they want, since that's what YOU created and is of value to YOU, and if you use their service enough, you'll eventually have some much data and unmigratable meta-content you won't be able to move it if a better solution comes along.

Copycat (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19841797)

Microsoft basically wants to copycat the cellphone 'pay as you go' revenue model. Software 'plus' services basically means the software is useless without some sort of online subscription, specially associated with a single users account.

Want to read mail? better purchase a subscription to MS-Mail+
Want to see up to date help files for visual studio? better subscribe to Developer+
Want to get updates? subscribe to Updates+

expect each of these services to have a small monthly fee, something like you would see on a cellphone bill.

People are used to getting gouged for cell service, the sheep will learn to like it for software as well.

Next step is Microsoft Datacenters, and Microsoft Storage. No need to buy or 'own' a PC anymore, lease/rent it and all your software from Microsoft, for a small monthly fee of course.

Re:Copycat (1)

Scottoest (1081663) | about 7 years ago | (#19842247)

Who in their right mind modded up an AC for pulling a bunch of assertions out of thin air. Ballmer gave a bunch of vague information as to what the company is working on, and that was it. Nothing more, and nothing less.

I guess this story is going to be the daily Microsoft "two minutes hate".

String them up for what they actually do; but all of this "I bet Microsot is working on "Baby Juicer 2007', and they are going to charge us sheep $30 a month to use the Baby Juicer 2007, and it will be completely non-standards complaint with the .juice format that the OSS program kJuicebaby uses. Man, what a bunch of dirty bastards they are" is insane.

Then again, maybe I just went insane there too. :D

- Scott

.Net squared (1)

athloi (1075845) | about 7 years ago | (#19841835)

This is part of the cumulative Microsoft vision that started when they wanted to make every part of their OS a configurable widget. The idea is that if you abstract the system enough into an insanely complex object model, you can give users control of it, and most programming tasks becoming a question of plugging together the right objects with the right filters and actors. The difference is that now they've brought .net-style wisdom into the picture, and are going to make it a net-wide, OS-less (but Vista-dependent, no doubt) version of the original ActiveX evangelism.

The good news is that this could make many programming tasks less tedious, and when a year later a more efficient (less corporate, fewer people) FOSS team takes on a clone project, it'll be fun for the rest of us as well.

But.... (0)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | about 7 years ago | (#19841863)

Yea Macroshaft will 'serve' you alright.

Re:But.... (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | about 7 years ago | (#19841901)

Oh, and Does it run Linux?

And I just thought up a GREAT name for it... (3, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 7 years ago | (#19841919)

...they could call this bold new idea ".NET"

Yawn... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 years ago | (#19841927)

...I'm sorry Steve. Did you say something?
I thought I heard, "blah, blah, blah, Internet, blah, blah, cloud , blah, blah, blah...."

/redundant

My sources tell me (2, Funny)

noewun (591275) | about 7 years ago | (#19841937)

Microsoft is hard at work on the DBSOD, the Distributed Blue Screen of Death. Now you can freeze any machine, anywhere in the world!

Re:My sources tell me (1)

GWLlosa (800011) | about 7 years ago | (#19842099)

So... Ping_Of_Death.exe gets ported to .NET?

When you're smoking what Steve and Bill are (3, Funny)

blueZ3 (744446) | about 7 years ago | (#19841939)

you're bound to imagine services "in the cloud"

I see something beyond tech here. (1)

jfekendall (1121479) | about 7 years ago | (#19842067)

In some jobs people are working too much off the clock as it is. This would just enable, if not exacerbate, that kind of behavior. This I would liken to giving a Video iPod to a porn addict. Being "more prodictive" does have it's downside. I can forsee an increase in employee burnout and fatigue from companies who adopt this technology.

the linsux fanboys must be going wild (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19842071)

they're all busy making stupid chair throwing comments. they still can't come up with a real joke aside from the os that they run.

Re:the linsux fanboys must be going wild (1)

Dr. Smoove (1099425) | about 7 years ago | (#19842119)

Ballmer is no Fucking Joke(TM). After he Fucking Kills(TM) Google, he's coming for the fanboys, and you.

Re:the linsux fanboys must be going wild (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19842801)

Good job on proving the GP right, idiot.

Clouds... (1)

jalet (36114) | about 7 years ago | (#19842079)

Indeed !

Catching Open Source again? (3, Informative)

zdzichu (100333) | about 7 years ago | (#19842179)

Just scroll bit down to GNOME Online Desktop [ometer.com] . Open Source desktop guys are talking about this idea for a long time. They want to build interface with contacts list as central place. People (online presences) are to become major pivot point. Telepathy, Galago, Decibel, KIMProxy gave application access to uniform online connectivity and presence information.
Additionally, projects like Stateless Linux break ties between user's documents and his computer. User's desktop moves with him when changing laptops etc.
They even built ,,aggregator for popular online sites and social notworking websites'' -- check Mugshot [mugshot.org] .

software in a cloud (1)

MatchbooksAndSarcasm (1111757) | about 7 years ago | (#19842213)

*KNOCK*KNOCK*KNOCK* ... "Steve, it's Bill, let me in, man" ... "Bill's not here, man."

Google Apps ... by Microsoft(tm) (2, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 7 years ago | (#19842397)

From the Microsoft "me too" department ... Ballmer's answer to Google Apps. Evidently they are hedging their bets against the possibility of Google Apps taking hold and eating away at MS Office market share. Orgs that want to control their own destiny aren't going to go for either one. They're going to use software-plus-services technologies, but they'll run them from their own data centers.

Dunno about everyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19842419)

But I tagged this: 'ballmerintheskywithdiamonds'

Microsoft's Plans (1)

kawabago (551139) | about 7 years ago | (#19842447)

What Microsoft is not telling anyone is that they will charge for every little thing you do in Windows Live. The whole thing is designed to suck your money into their pockets on a monthly basis forever. If you buy into Microsoft's dream, you will be paying them for the rest of your life. Is that really what you want?

Software is your Service (4, Insightful)

alucinor (849600) | about 7 years ago | (#19842489)

How about instead of consumers surrendering all their data to centrally controlled third parties, those third parties send us their code to run locally on our data. Oh wait, I just described an open source distro repository, lol.

This time for sure! (2, Interesting)

GnarlyDoug (1109205) | about 7 years ago | (#19842511)

Once again MS announces it is going to get into the business of networked services. Good luck with that. First the announce that they will release computers in India. That sounds like they are chasing Apple and aiming to become their own OEM like Apple is. Except that unlike Apple they don't have someone like Jobs to manage the intricate details needed for Apple's famed integration and user experience to work. Now they want to get into being an ASP. Again. Which sounds like they want to be like Google. Except that unlike Google they don't have massive server farms or other infrastructure, and their services will probably be linked to Windows only programs.

In short, Microsoft can no longer be like Microsoft since they are losing their lock on the market. However they don't have a plan to become anything new, at least not at a scale that can support them at their current burn rates. All they can do is poorly mimic other company's strategies and business models. That doesn't strike me as a winning strategy. To me this is more signs that MS is collapsing, and over the next five years it will become apparent to everyone that it is doing so.

truth in advertising (2, Funny)

opencity (582224) | about 7 years ago | (#19842609)

Isn't a cloud water vapor?
So he's saying they're working on vapor?
Now that's honesty.

One and ONLY one reason for this scheme (2, Informative)

macraig (621737) | about 7 years ago | (#19842665)

There's one, and only one, reason why Microsoft is hyping this: it's the next big push to acclimate the world to software as a subscription service. They're salivating over the prospect of being able to collect from you every month, just like Comcast does, and to the same degree of excess and (even more) obscene profit. They want to reeducate you to think of software as "content".

If you think Microsoft has made a lot of money selling one-time software licenses, just wait until they've got people accustomed to paying them every month. You ain't seen nuthin' yet.

This is one of those turnkey moments in history, folks. Either we plant our feet solidly and draw a line, or lose the whole farm as Microsoft convinces all the neighbors to sell out.

Uneasiness... (2, Informative)

catdevnull (531283) | about 7 years ago | (#19842683)

I'm not trying to bash Microsoft, but they don't exactly have the best reputation in the realm of security.

I would be VERY hesitant to use a MS service that allows access to "all of my content" using a nebulous array of servers. I certainly wouldn't want to be an early adopter of this technology until they can prove a secure track record--especially given the problems with their current product lines.

Even if a miraculous thing happens and the "Live Core" thing ends up being pretty secure, my biggest problem with this technology is its reliance on networking. If a second miracle happens and the quality, quantity, and ubiquity of broadband networking over the air and standard transmisson media gets to a point where it is reliable and affordable then we might be looking at a viable useable service.

As it stands today, MS's security holes and the limited reliability/availablity of current broadband services keep Steve's Live Core dream in the lab.

QuickBooks Example (2, Informative)

alohatiger (313873) | about 7 years ago | (#19842753)

Intuit offers QuickBooks as a web application. It's a great idea (although it relies on ActiveX + IE) and worth paying the monthly fee. We could access it from anywhere and the accountant could get into the data without coming to our office. For us, it was much better than the normal locally installed software.

Lots of apps (SalesForce.com, TaxCut, etc.) will benefit from this model.

Ballmer == instant "don't care" (1)

BarnabyWilde (948425) | about 7 years ago | (#19842769)

'nuf said...

OpenOffice.org in the cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19842791)

Ballmer seems to be hinted about OpenOffice.org [slashdot.org] entering the cloud with GravityZoo [gravityzoo.com] .

Oblig funny (2, Funny)

Twanfox (185252) | about 7 years ago | (#19842799)

1) Make announcement of a revolutionary new Operating System
2) ... Internet Cloud ...
3) Profit!

The network is the computer... (1)

hax4bux (209237) | about 7 years ago | (#19842893)

What do you mean already been done?

With net neutrality dieing and slow adoption of... (1)

mario_grgic (515333) | about 7 years ago | (#19842935)

broadband in North America, this may not work or be practical at all.
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