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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ray Ozzie warns Microsoft of the way ahead

SOFTWARE IMPERIUM Microsoft's soon to be former chief software architect has fired a few parting words of warning at the Vole.

Writing in his blog, Ray Ozzie said that when he first showed up at the outfit five years ago he wrote The Internet Services Disruption in order to kick off a major change management process across the company.

Ozzie apparently wrote that every five years the IT industry experiences what appears to be an inflection point that results in great turbulence and change. He said that Microsoft managed the last five years quite well - apparently overlooking Windows Vista entirely - and is in a good position for the next five.

But he warned that changes are coming again and this time they threaten the PC centric view of the universe that has made Microsoft piles of dosh. He admitted that some competitors' products and their rapid advancement by coming up with new ideas have been quite noteworthy.

"Their execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction," Ozzie wrote.

He warned that organisations worldwide, in every industry, are now stepping back and re-thinking the basics.

The next five years will bring about yet another transformation that will once again yield unprecedented opportunities for Microsoft and the industry, he said.

He said that the PC client and PC-based server have grown from their simple roots over the past 25 years. But it has all gotten a lot more complex.

"Complexity kills. Complexity sucks the life out of users, developers and IT. Complexity makes products difficult to plan, build, test and use. Complexity introduces security challenges. Complexity causes administrator frustration," he wrote.

He said the Vole needs to reflect upon what's going on, writing, "it's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk." He said it needs to close its eyes and imagine what a post-PC world might actually look like.

He predicted that connected devices beyond the PC will increasingly come in a breathtaking number of shapes and sizes, tuned for a broad variety of communications, creation and consumption tasks.

He warned, "Each individual will interact with a fairly good number of these connected devices on a daily basis - their phone / internet companion; their car; a shared public display in the conference room, living room, or hallway wall. Indeed some of these connected devices may even grow to bear a resemblance to today's desktop PC or clamshell laptop."

Tomorrow's devices will be simple and appliance-like. They will be instantly usable, interchangeable, and trivially replaceable without loss, he predicted.

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