Ozzie Memo Take 2

I spent the weekend reading the Ray Ozzie memo about software as services. It was incredibly well composed, which, if you’ve read any of Ozzie’s old blogs, is really no surprise. He naturally writes in a thorough, clear manner, and always seems interested in setting a historical context for future thought.

It also seemed apparent the memo was designed for the entire 65,000-strong Microsoft workforce to read, absorb and use as marching orders. So what does this all mean for customers? It means that Microsoft plans to keep its rich OS and productivity clients, but surround them with new services that run on the Web. It also means that these services will be like every thing else on the Web (including my favorite, Redmondmag.com) -- surrounded by advertising. When it comes to content, I don’t mind -- that’s what makes it free (and trust me, Redmondmag.com ain’t free to produce). But when fundamental software services are bogged down in banners, that’s another matter.

The reason I’m revisiting the memo isn’t just to justify my weekend’s work. I wanted to point people to the rather amazing and insightful comments made by Redmond Report readers. In fact, that is the main reason I write this newsletter three times a week. Every time I ask for feedback I get loads of response. And this teaches me about the market. As much as writers like to pretend they’re smart, the readers who live in the IT trenches are the smart ones, and it’s your ideas that truly matter.

So go back to our original story and scroll down to see what other readers had to say about Web services. It won’t be as easy a sell as Microsoft might hope.

An HP Printer Breakthrough and Lock-in
HP answered a few of my printing prayers with the announcement of a universal printer driver. If you're like me, you thought of this years ago but didn’t work in HP’s printer division. I have about 10 HP printers lying around the house, and besides each needing a different set of cartridges, they all have different drivers. This makes moving printers from PC to PC a royal pain. The new driver will automatically support all new printers and is backwards compatible with enterprise-class printers.

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An Open Source Tipping Point?
In the world of news, this is ancient, having broke almost two weeks ago. However, Sun’s announcement of a Web service that converts Word documents to open file formats is worthy of a belated mention. Will millions of people process documents this way, and do it regularly? I doubt it. But having this ability breaks down one barrier to ditching Office and moving to open source productivity apps.

What would it take you to switch from Windows XP and Office to something non-Microsoft? Be as detailed as you can, and you might get quoted in an upcoming issue. Send your thoughts to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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