Ray Ozzie steers Microsoft into the cloud

Ray Ozzie is driving Microsoft into the cloud. The move is a major challenge to the company's existing business, but the company's new Chief Software Architect is confident he can deliver.

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In Windows 7, you're going to take out some applications that formerly were part of the operating system and send people to Windows Live instead. How are you going to see the operating system evolve as you move to more hosted services, because it looks like at some point it may become more of a control environment for aggregating and managing all of these different services? Would you say that's true or false? How would you see it evolving?

Ozzie: It's an interesting perspective. I would say that you said several things and I'll try to bring them together.

The reason those apps were pulled out is that in many cases apps now want to have a services component and a software component to them, and just delivering it as a service and having the service update the software as the service evolves just seems to be better in terms of the way those particular apps have been packaged -- Movie Maker, Photo Gallery. So you'll see more and more of that.

The core OS -- there is such device innovation going on right now in terms of the broad variety of PCs. I don't know what kind of PC you have at home, but I kind of go nuts, because I can, and I have a 30-inch monitor with two 21-inch wing monitors. I have all of this screen real estate.

It's not even a very expensive PC but the stuff that I can do with it -- I can edit a document here and review the thing here and have the Web open. It's context that surrounds me. At the same time I have a laptop I travel with. It's got a bigger screen because my eyes aren't that great, but it's portable enough. I have a really, really thin one for when I go on vacation -- I can carry that with me. There is such a broad variety.

All I'm getting at is the core purpose of the OS on the device, whether it's a phone device or anything, it's really to make the hardware and the user kind of just come together like that.

The purposes of the apps is to have the seamlessness between the PC, the service and the phone. The purpose of the OS on the device is to have the best value on that device. So, I think there's just going to continue to be tremendous opportunity for innovation on these devices.

I'm still trying to understand the balance between the OS as something that takes advantage of the hardware it's running on and the OS as something that also takes advantage of the Web.

Ozzie: The way that we're going to do that -- to try to be as clear as possible -- the OS that you get out of the box will clearly have some base connections to the Web. Like the browser. Like Windows Update. I'm just saying these are base-level connections to the Web.

We have to kind of limit the amount that we go above there because we still sell Windows to a large number of people who don't have great Internet connections. It might be the government that has their own separate network, it might be in a part of the world that doesn't have great [Internet connectivity].

But it's still great Windows. Then the pieces that connect Windows more richly to the Internet will just use the Internet to deliver those pieces themselves. We'll make sure that Windows has enough open APIs so you can bring that thing down and have it hook right into the shell, and have it feel like a natural extension.
Photographs by DBegley

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