Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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Windows Cloud: Bad Timing?

With all the hype surrounding Windows 7's Pre-Beta 1 being debuted at PDC, Microsoft definitely wouldn't do anything to steal the thunder from under the next version of their flagship product . . . or would they? Well, Steve Ballmer actually seems to have done just that by, likely prematurely, mentioning that Windows Cloud, a cloud-computing based OS, will also surface at PDC.

Despite mentioning the product, not a whole heck of a lot was mentioned about Windows Cloud by Ballmer, but it does appear as if it will compete directly with Google App Engine and Amazon EC2. Microsoft wants to go beyond just web-based application use within browser windows, and move onto integrating these apps with Windows Cloud.

So, what the heck does this all mean? As John Brandon mentions over at Computerworld, a "cloud" OS isn't really a tangible thing, but more of an idea. From what I understand, it would include an incredibly light infrastructure from the OS itself, and then have straight web-based apps that ran so that the system resources wouldn't be bogged down.

It almost sounds like Ballmer wants to turn Windows into a web-based form of Linux: a quick, stripped down OS where open source apps rule the world. I'm getting ahead of myself, thinking Microsoft would open up Windows Cloud to programmers galore . . . but I can dream, can't I?

Back to the timing of all this. Why would Ballmer drop this ball when Windows 7 is slated to be the focal point of the PDC? He dropped the news at a Microsoft-sponsored conference in London, and apparently went on to bash Google's web-based offering, saying that wants "software more powerful than software that runs in a browser."

Oh snap Steve! They're reeling at the Google HQ now. I'm a Microsoft guy, but he's gotta get past the jealousy, and recognize that Google has gotten to the "cloud" realm first, and is doing a pretty good job laying the foundation for web-based apps to come.

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