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Microsoft Looks Into The Cloud

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The favorite of Googlite war cry formats has been to pair up a Microsoft product with the word "killer": Windows-killer; Office-killer; [Insert product here]-killer. Google’s free, advertising-based software-as-a-service model is what has made Google, in theory at least, Microsoft’s most intense new challenger.

And sure, Microsoft can’t seem to get a firm grasp on search market, but that market is just a side one, and Internet Explorer is losing ground (but not a lot of it) to Google-backed Firefox.

But Microsoft’s main business is software, and keeping that software in front of customers, a job that no one has matched.

At Microsoft’s Financial Analyst Meeting, the Masters of the Universe – Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer as you might know them – mentioned the company’s intent to build out their server-based software offerings in an attempt to compete in the sphere.

"The early personal computer was a self-contained device," said Gates. "The graphics, the storage, the computation, was all in one device. When the user walked up to it, all of the state, all of the interaction, was with that single device.

"As you get broadband to be widely available, you can change that paradigm. You can think, OK, the storage doesn’t all have to be in that location. It can be on servers run by that company or it can be servers on the Internet, or, as we often say, ‘in the cloud.’ And if you’re working on multiple devices, you can move information back and forth between them in a far more user-centric way."

But that doesn’t mean that Microsoft will be getting away from its core software-on-the-machine business. And why would you change a $50 billion annual model? According to Ballmer, Microsoft is taking the combination approach.

"We’re not moving towards the world of thin computing, we’re moving towards the world of software plus services," he said. "And the software plus service model will bring the best of the desktop, the best of the Web, the best of the enterprise, and the best of devices together."

And that means nothing’s going to be completely free like what is offered in the open source world or in Google’s world. The Beast of Redmond has done an amazing job so far of keeping its paid products dominant, even in the face of Open Office, Linux, you name it.

Will it be able to continue its winning streak, even as the unleashed monster that is Google continues to undercut its offerings? If history’s any indication, they will be. A billion computers in the world with Microsoft operating can’t be wrong — or at least that will be the number by the end of the year as the number of personal computers in the world surpasses the number automobiles.

Microsoft Looks Into The Cloud
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