Microsoft 2.0 – Short on Technical Tea-Leaves

I’ve literally just finished reading Mary Jo Foley’s book, Microsoft 2.0 – How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era.  I picked up a copy at my local book store yesterday.

The books shows that Mary keeps on top of things and clearly edited the book right up to publication to get things in, falling just short of know the name Live Mesh to a Microsoft project she mentions.  Along with describing the Live Mesh project, she mentions cloud OS, virtual computing, Silverlight, etc., as largely separate items – the things I’ve been blogging about as converging in a ‘Live PC’ in my initial Live Mesh series.

Perhaps it’s just me – someone who drinks down Microsoft information like water in a desert – but I was gagging for some new information.  Other than a few research project names, I didn’t learn anything new from the book.  That’s not to say that other will not.  I was hoping she would give more technical predictions – some juicy possibilities to think about.  There needs to be a technical insight/predictions volume in a 2.0 edition.  It wasn’t very business-audience focused either – more of a very long blog post.

The book is good if you want to understand the current key players, organisational basics and business breakdown of Microsoft at this moment in time.  It is not a tea-leaf prediction factory at all, though it does pose questions about how things like a Yahoo acquisition and Ray Ozzie’s low-key leadership will or will not affect things.  As much as the book wants to ask what the new Microsoft will look like, it’s largely about what it’s like in 2007.  Mary wasn’t able to get official sanction or information from Microsoft for the book and perhaps that has crippled what could have been a more useful resource.

I have to say that there’s a lot of repetition in the book and various spelling/grammatical errors.  Hey, we all do those, but no-one’s paying me to do this or paying someone else to proof-read it.  I believe at one part of the book it reads that Microsoft did buy Yahoo.  Mary is also the queen of footnotes it seems.

The book does set Mary up as an information tracking authority though and she vows to keep information coming at www.microsoft2.net: it has a number of posts already.

Back to more technical reading…

Apple Irony

Apple is again running a new clever and contrite ad on cnn.com involving two ad spots synchronised.  It pans Vista because of apparent remaining glitches a year after release and users downgrading to XP.

I thought I’d head over to apple.com to see if they had any other amusing ads.  I went to this page, only to be presented with a Quicktime upgrade window that hung IE7…

Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2

This week, during the Keynote for the Microsoft TechEd 2008 Developer conference (with TechEd now being in two parts – developer and it pro), it was announced (with little detail) that Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2 is due for release by the end of this week – nothing as of Friday at 19:00ET.  There will (as with Beta 1) be a go-live license available.

One of the big Silverlight projects mentioned at Mix08 was the MSNBC Olympics site which will present ‘gazillions’ of hours of event video.  It was thought that this would be a Silverlight 1.0 solution, but the TechEd keynote also included the news that it would be running on Silverlight 2.0 Beta 2.

I believe we’ll be seeing the dual release of Silverlight 2.0 RTW and WPF SP1 RTW at the same time, towards the end of the summer, along with various developer tools.

I’d suggest staying tuned to Scott Guthrie’s and Tim Sneath’s blogs.

Update:

Scott’s blog was updated as predicted and here are the links…

Download links:

Download of individual pieces

Other info:

Idol Thoughts

Two guys named David were in the finals for American Idol this week.  David Cook (25) and David Archuleta (17).  I would jokingly call Season 7 of American Idol, the David Archuleta show because he was the mostly likely winner, but he had one major thing against him…  his fans were too young to stay up and vote for the finale!

Of course both David’s will have fans of various ages, but it’s quite likely that the majority of their fans could be from different groups.  The voting on the final show started at 9pm ET and was apparently open for 4 hours. 

Let’s assume that David Archuleta has a young teen audience.  Just considering the Eastern time zone, if voting started at 9pm ET, how many young voters would still be up voting after 11pm and as far as 1am?  I’m guessing that David Cook’s fan base could simply stay up longer.

David Archuleta’s humbleness, giggles and stumbling responses did show his young age, but technically his singing was superior.  He may not yet be in his prime for a touring deal yet.

Could the decision of the producers to have 4 hours of voting have affected the outcome?

One website was claiming to predict the result based on busy tones received when repeatedly calling the contestants’ numbers.  I wonder if they found David Archuleta’s numbers easier to dial as the evening went on.

Of course, the producers have likely known the voting pattern for the whole season including the finale – it’s a business after all…

Windows Live Mesh Gives Legs or Wheels to Microsoft Sync and Auto PC

Microsoft Sync has appeared in some Ford vehicles and is apparently coming to at least two other manufacturers soon.

It amazes me how utterly appalling the uptake is of Windows in the car industry.

Microsoft Sync with a Microsoft’s Live Mesh client opens up the ability to take contacts, music, continuous user experiences (such as phone calls, paused music and podcast bookmarks), to your car.

Combine that with a ‘Windows Live PC’ running on an ‘Xbox portable’ or Zune in the mesh as I’ve mentioned in this series of posts on Live Mesh, and you can really see the magic of software plus services coming together for a seamless user experience.

A ‘Windows Live PC’ gives the UMPC, ‘Microsoft PC’ or Xbox Portable a Future

In this series of posts I’ve talked about my concept of the ‘Windows Live PC’ as the trojan strategy in Microsoft’s Live Mesh.

I’ve talked about how such a virtual PC could be available on an Xbox 360, a Mac or other platforms.

One of problems with the Microsoft UMPC initiate has been that cost of PC capabilities in a small form-factor, and the need to up the component cost to provide Vista in that form factor.  This has made many UMPCs (so far built not by Microsoft, but by IHVs) more expensive than many notebook computers and with less power at the same price.

With my concept of the ‘Windows Live PC’ and minimal SSD storage, the UMPC could stop growing in power (and energy consumption, resulting in longer battery life) and just turn into a ‘Windows Live PC’ client.

In previous posts I suggested that such a client doesn’t have to be very powerful.  I also said that the xbox 360 is good enough.  In fact the original xbox is likely good enough too in many ways – even perhaps a PS2 or PS3!!

How about a PC the size of a Mac Mini or the size of a Zune?

What if Microsoft sold its own UMPC with SSD storage, the form-factor of something like a Samsung Q1 Ultra but not much processing power – how about an Xbox portable?

An Xbox portable would be the ultimate convergent future of Live Mesh, Xbox, Xbox Live, ‘Windows Live PC’, Xbox portable, WPF, Remote App, Windows Server 2008, Windows licensing, ISV solution channel, etc. 

Robbie Bach, J Allard, Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia, Steve Ballmer & Bill Gates – take a look at this series of posts on Live Mesh – I know what you’re up to 🙂 and if you’re not then you should be – it’s a vision I want to be involved in one way or another from the outside or the inside…

Add a ‘Windows Live PC for Mac’ to your Live Mesh with Silverlight

In this series of posts I’ve introduced the idea of a virtual ‘Windows Live PC‘.  I’ve talked about how your Xbox could be the ubiquitous PC in your household without any software application installations, thanks to a potential expansion of the currently disclosed Web Desktop (storage service) in Microsoft Live Mesh, with the addition of RemoteApp from Windows Server 2008.

Silverlight 2.0+ is the SUPER TROJAN HORSE onto the Mac, Linux and I believe there could be more platforms to come (see next post…)

Some developers may already be wondering why they should bother with HTML, AJAX, DOMs, DHTML, Javascript, etc. now that they can provide a hugely rich WPF Windows application in a browser using their existing .NET skills (plus WPF), and when that browser can be IE and Firebox on Windows, Safari on Mac, and whatever it is on Linux, without any of the nightmare that cross-browser standards-compatibility creates.

In previous posts I said that my notional ‘Windows Live PC’ will run (via RemoteApp) on anything that can handle the necessary technology stack with the xbox 360 being more than enough.  It seems to me that Silverlight 2.0 (or perhaps a later interation) could easily talk the Remote Desktop protocol.  Once that happens Microsoft can be selling you a ‘Windows Live PC’ subscription on your Mac and all those Windows-targeting ISVs can now license their product onto a Mac or Linux!!!

Note that there is already a Remote Desktop Client for Mac, but with the potential for Microsoft to offer a virtual ‘Windows Live PC’ running full screen, the Mac could fade into just a remoteapp client to a ‘Windows Live PC’ albeit a great new channel for the Windows and ISV software licensing – now that’s what I call leveraging!