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Ozzie And The Unveiling Of Microsoft 3.0

  • Wired, Wednesday, November 26, 2008 11:30 AM
Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates' successor as Microsoft's chief software architect, was more than a little nervous as he got on stage to address 6,000 or so Microsoft engineers from around the world at the TechReady conference this past summer. "I have high anxiety -- massive, huge, tremendous anxiety," Ozzie tells Wired magazine. "It's not a natural act for me."

Ozzie may not enjoy speaking on stage, or the limelight in general for that matter, but the time is right for the brains behind Microsoft's software strategy to reveal what the heck he's been working on for the last two years. It better be good, too: Microsoft's stock has been flat for years, the stock market in general is reeling, tech visionaries write eulogies for the company's core business on a daily basis, and a generation of tech savvy Internet users think of Microsoft as a dinosaur, thanks in part to Apple's "PC vs. Mac" campaign.

During his TechReady keynote, Ozzie spoke about the importance of Microsoft's shift from a traditional software sales model to what he calls "software plus services." Not particularly catchy, as far as slogans go. Nevertheless, the message is clear: packaging and selling physical software and then producing a new version a few years later is no longer a sustainable business model. The new relationship with consumers must be continuous, although Ozzie draws a line at the idea that everything can exist in the cloud, and that the desktop is dead. He thinks the ideal software model is a hybrid. With that notion, Ozzie unveils Red Dog, a new operating system for Web-based apps -- a sort of Windows for the cloud, and Live Mesh, a service that synchronizes information with as many people and across as many devices as one wants

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