Ray Ozzie, as he left Microsoft after five years, blogged in the form of an internal memo to the executive team.
You can read it on his blog, and it’s worth paging down through the congratulations about what’s been achieved in that time. He acknowledges that in some things, competitors have led Microsoft and still do. He highlights “mobile experiences, … the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and … social networking & myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction”.
And he starts to imagine a “Post-PC” world. 20th November, he points out, is the 25th anniversary of the launch of Windows 1.0. And although, as he acknowledges, it wasn’t the first WIMP interface (Xerox Parc, with Smalltalk, and Apple were there first: Apple’s Lisa was an early 1980s project, and the first Mac made its debut in 1984) it was Windows which took the mass market beyond the command line interface.
Ray Ozzie discusses the immense infrastructure and organisational complexity that’s grown up around the PC as we have come to know it. And he expects radical change to resolve this: not just cloud services, simplifying access, but a range of connected devices. It’s interesting that he continues to envisage individuals interacting with “a fairly good number of these connected devices on a daily basis”; indeed, we already do, and complexity is emerging in the need to keep various versions of reality in step with each other. Again, it’s the cloud that can offer a solution: if the one version of your calendar, or address book, or collaborative space is in one place in the cloud, access from any device reaches the same data. Simplicity and broad approachability are his keywords. And the transformation must start at ground level: it can’t be imposed by corporate decision makers.
It will make an interesting comparison to set this vision against Eric Schmidt’s interview at the Web 2.0 summit, reported by TechRepublic. I haven’t listened to it, but Jason Hiner’s summary includes stuff about Android and Google’s approach to devices: but also the phone as a digital wallet and, intriguingly, “Net Neutrality in the wireless world”. It looks perhaps as if Google sees one device (an Android phone) rather than Ozzie’s plethora of devices all looking at one cloud service.
Oh, and an interesting sideline. On leaving Microsoft, Ray has migrated his blog from Windows Live to WordPress …
• Dawn of a New Day, Ray Ozzie’s blog, 16 Oct 2010
• Google CEO talks about the coming mobile revolution, Tech Republic, 16 Nov 2010 (with embedded video)