I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to see Steve Ballmer present live in Sydney next week. I feel priviledge to have had exposure to and experience with so many technology companies and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer will no doubt thrill the audience – word is, he’s a great presenter. Of course I am a passionate user and supporter of Microsoft’s platforms and technology – from the business user’s point I have grown up on Office and Windows so feel comfortable using these tools. I am not a developer but do enjoy working with and listening to their views – and Microsoft probably more than most companies, supports their developer community and in return has amassed an army of “evangelists” who support their initiatives. Let’s face it, as blogger Craig Bailey puts it, there is the need to clarify “…the exciting, overwhelming, and sometimes bewildering array of Microsoft products”
On an amusing note, I thought I would remind readers of some of the famous moments Steve Ballmer has been captured on video – these videos have certainly done the rounds, but here are a couple for your enjoyment:
Steve Ballmer: “Developers, Developers…”
Steve Ballmer “..I love this company”
On a more serious note, I am particulalry interested to see Microsoft’s views on so-called Cloud Computing, which as Wikipedia goes on to explain is simply “..the reliance on the Internet to solve the computing needs of users” Microsoft was famously late in strategically embracing the Internet, dismissing the web browser’s importance before being brought to trial over its anti-competitive behaviour. This has all been very well documented – one suggested starting point is Wikipedia to see some of this.
As the Internet continues to grow its popularity and usage, and bandwidth increases, Microsoft is reinventing itself and positioning itself as a player in the space arguably dominated by Google. I believe Google is one of Microsoft’s major threats – Microsoft even alluded to this in their latest annual report, as reported by Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times
It’s easy to be cynical about Microsoft, as in my opinion they are as much a marketing company as a software company – but regardless of what your opinion is, next week’s Steve Ballmer and team presentation will be highly engaging, entertaining and thought provoking.
I remember years ago (as far back as 1995 apparently) Larry Ellison touted the “Network Computer” as the way of the future. Well it seems to have arrived now albeit without Oracle’s involvement in the form of the gPC (or “Green PC”), available through Walmart stores in the US (and currently sold out). Matt Cutts, a respected blogger from Google, describes the gPC in more detail here. It seems to be an incredibly cheap way to get online, runs an open-source operating system called gOS, and encourages the use of purely web-based applications from Google. Check out some of the press coverage here. I am not sure if it would work in Australia but I don’t see why not. I am fascinated with Google’s web-based applications, particularly Docs and Gmail, and have been using them for a while. For example, I recently put together a spreadsheet of a budget gaming computer (with thanks to Sharky Extreme’s excellent guides) I am interesed in custom-building.