Microsoft 3.0

The title come courtesy of a post written by Steve Clayton just after Ray Ozzie’s PDC keynote speech on October 27 and I think it does typify the feelings of those faithful (and not so faithful as well) Microsoft product users and developers. The full quote from his post is

For me, this is nothing short of Microsoft 3.0 – from a PC company, to a server company to a cloud company.

While the usual crew of tech pundits are make a big show of yawning there are others who might agree that this week could be marked down on the calendar as the re-emergence of Microsoft as a platform powerhouse with a good solid direction that they are going in. In a later post last night Steve pointed anyone who might be interested in just what this Software + Services (S+S) is about to the Software Plus Services page where there five videos available to give people a bit of idea of what is coming down the pipe.

The main video; Overnight Success, was one I watched twice because I, well.. it was damn cool. Look for the next generation WinMo based mobile phone near the end which is being built not on a Vista base as was assumed but rather on Win7. The iPhone doesn’t have the market on sexy cornered anymore if what I saw is any indication. The other videos are just as intriguing to watch as one of them shows both a Mac laptop and iPod connecting and sharing via Live Mesh. Just make sure to save the one of Ray Ozzie’s keynote speech for the last as it is longer than the others, but it is still well worth watching as in it he lays out pretty well the future of Microsoft.

As much of what happened during the Monday PDC event was starting to break into the blogs Mark ‘rizzn’ Hopkins and myself ended up have a long conversation on IM as we tried to wrap our heads around the implications of what Microsoft was planning to bring to the next generation of the company’s services and product. The fact is that I believe given what I have seen so far and knowing the reputations of the people who are now the driving force behind Microsoft’s push to the web that Google and the rest of the cloud companies could have a very serious fight on their hands.

Like I said last night to Mark while Google may have the street smarts and has been more comsumer facing than Microsoft they haven’t yet been able to seriously crack into the corporate enterprise marketplace. Much of my argument as to why this is can be found in my post yesterday here on The Inquisitr where I was asking who owns the keys to cloud. My point in relation to Google was that it had centered its move into the cloud by basing everything around the browser and this just isn’t good enough for the enterprise market. With Azure, Mesh and Live Services however Microsoft is going right for the corporate boardroom and given they have almost 20+ years of playing in that field they are way ahead of Google – they just needed the the platform and developer tools the cinch the deal. Now they have it.

One of the examples I used when talking with Mark was IBM and the idea that imagine them being able to deploy an installation of Office that regardless of whether it is operating out of a browser or as an installable app it allows their employees to work realtime with the same data in live collaberation regardless of where they are in the world. It won’t matter if they are using a desktop, a laptop, a netbook or a mobile phone that data will be available to everyone to work on. IBM would almost be able to ROI immediately plus they can have it all within their own cloud data center or available throughout the Microsoft cloud system. That’s a pretty powerful argument for an enterprise business.

Mark did point out that Google possibly had the edge on Microsoft on the mobile platform which I agreed at this point they did. But stop and think for a second if all the employees at IBM are already using Mesh and Live Services on their laptops and other handheld devices to do their work and keep their data why would they suddenly switch to another cloud system just because they are nolonger at work. By being able to provide enterprises with the right mix of tools and applications that make sense for them to go the cloud Microsoft opens the door wide to the consumer marketplace for their more consumer oriented cloud services.

On top of that by releasing advance Community Technical Previews (CTPs) of the platform along with the next version of developer tools; that will let developers get in on the ground floor, Microsoft follows a tradition set back with Windows 95 and developers having had time to develop against it. I have made fun of Ballmer before (and I probably will again) for his “Developer, developer, developer” war chant but this has proven to work for them in the past and I don’t see why it won’t work this time either.

Whether I am right or wrong about my thoughts on this new Microsoft remains to be seen but regardless there are going to be some interesting times ahead now that Microsoft has started the climb up to the clouds.