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The Smoking Gun

June 30, 2008

Check out Steve Gillmor’s post over at TechCrunchIT about his best guess at the future of Microsoft’s online services/platform strategy.  Pretty compelling arguments, and perhaps we’re seeing an opportunity for Microsoft to climb out of 3rd place in the online ecosystem.  Only time will tell, but this sure seems plausible!

As Bill Gates closed the door for the final time Friday on his ex-office (Ballmer takes over Monday) the rhetoric about continued one day a week doesn’t match the reality. Whether you believe Bill will have an ongoing role in Office and Windows futures, I bet most of Bill’s input is already factored in by the owners of those two dominant sources of Microsoft revenue.

What comes next depends on whether Microsoft can pivot to the open Web paradigm as predicated in the Live Mesh strategy, or meander along while attempting to catch up in search and failing to buy Yahoo. You can find plenty of the latter analysis elsewhere, but here we’ll go for the throat of Microsoft’s disruptive opportunity by using a time-honored approach when faced with few facts but a lot of clues. Namely, building a case out of circumstantial evidence. And a smoking gun.

[ … GO READ THE REST!!! … ]

The Live Desktop is Mesh plus Silverlight. A Silverlight Office, however iteratively it is rolled out, will provide Microsoft the leverage to frame the discussion of an Internet Operating System. By mandating openness at all costs combined with a clear user contract trading software for services, the strategy puts Google and Apple in the position of explaining how they too get from here to there. Perhaps a SIlverlight-like runtime from either company is in the pipeline, but more likely are the Gears and SproutCore developer frameworks which are lighter-weight and less fundamental to each companies’ current success.

Contorting the words of Johnnie Cochran, if the glove fits you must convict. Will a Silverlight-only Live Desktop emerge soon after Election Day? If so, what will Microsoft or its developers do with it? Will Ray Ozzie, who spent the first half of his career as the most successful third-party application developer in Windows NT’s history with Lotus Notes, lead a wave of Live Desktop development under the rubric of Services with just enough Software? If the Himel post goes 404, maybe not.

The Smoking Gun
Steve Gillmor
Sat, 28 Jun 2008 20:28:27 GMT

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