|By Roger Strukhoff||
|October 22, 2010 12:00 PM EDT||
The role of the designer at Apple and Microsoft has been a hot topic in the news recently.
First came a long interview with former Apple CEO John Sculley, who discussed the role of the designer at Apple and contrasted it favorably with Microsoft's approach.
Then came news that Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie was resigning, apparently because his role as designer-in-chief was marginalized in Redmond. Add to that the telling detail that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said he will not replace Ray Ozzie.
Certainly Apple has been riding an incredible wave of growth and profitability in recent years, and certainly many people have been trying to hammer nails in a coffin custom-fitted for Microsoft in recent years as well.
The Players Play On
In this context, I re-watched a fascinating interview with Messrs. Ballmer and Ozzie held last fall and conducted by Wall Street Journal reviewer Walt Mossberg. Some of the conversation was about Cloud Computing, an area in which the two Microsoft execs had sharply divergent views.
This was not the only area in which the two didn't seem to be on the same page. As the interview progressed-and Ballmer did about 80% of the talking-it became clear that Redmond's CEO and CSO had two completely different world views, almost in a literal sense, as if they came from two different planets.
With respect to Cloud Computing, Microsoft has announced and is implementing its Azure program and strategy. I've seen articles critical of Azure as presenting a very pale in contrast to what it could be or would have been had Ray Ozzie been able to carry forth his vision.
At this point, it is so very easy for us armchair quarterbacks to criticize Ballmer, to charecterize Ozzie's leaving as a mistake, not replacing him another mistake, to allege that Ballmer "doesn't get" the Cloud, and predict Redmond's ultimate doom.
Microsoft is ultimately doomed; if people keep saying this for the next 500 years, at some point, someone will be right.
What is Important?
But the question of whether Microsoft will go out of business in 2011, 2111, or 2511 is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Steve Ballmer is CEO of an enterprise with $62 billion in annual revenue. Apple has grown in recent years to approach this level, and now exceeds Redmond in the worth of its stock.
These facts are more relevant to Steve Jobs's ability to manage such a large enterprise than with Apple's competition with Microsoft. My guess is neither is inclined to be rash and do anything else to steer enterprises of this size by any other means than those that got them to where they are today. In other words, we know Steve Jobs is never going to change; Steve Ballmer isn't gonna change either, folks.
Neither spends much time obsessing about the other (the way we in the media and analyst communities do). I'm sure, however, that they both spend a lot of time obsessing about how all of the tactical approaches involved in running their respective business. It is here where the Sculley and Ballmer/Ozzie interviews enter the picture.
Steve Jobs thinks in terms of industrial design, and he is a perfectionist. Sculley says this in the interview, and his opinion is hardly revelatory. Steve first described his fascination with industrial design in an interview with Playboy magazine years ago, where he mentioned European washing machines-which load sideways, use less water, spin faster, and dry the clothes as well-as an example of what inspires him. His disdain for furniture-none of it is good enough-is well known.
Sculley goes on to describe how this obsession with design has always been implemented at Apple, in which the designers are the high priests of the org chart. By contrast, Microsoft simply doesn't have anyone in a similar role, Sculley said in the interview.
This observation seems to bear out with the elimination of Ray Ozzie's job title as he leaves the company. The title of Chief Software Architect was previously held by Bill Gates only; at the time, it seemed to be created as a way for Gates to dislodge himself from the yoke of day-to-day management while remaining influential within the company.
Initial news reports about Ray's leaving Microsoft highlighted the fact that "Ray wasn't Bill," ie, he didn't command the respect that the company co-founder did. Many in the crowd might crack wise that Not Being Bill is exactly what Microsoft needs, that it is finally time to bring some high-level design perspective to the company instead of getting it right the third time, as has been the company's history.
But no way no how would that argument go over well with Steve Ballmer. In the Mossberg interview, he was alternately cocky and earnest, but always supremely supportive of the way Microsoft has always done business and, presumably, will always do business.
When Ray Ozzie would talk about "pivoting" (I would say "adapting") current Microsoft applications for the Cloud, Ballmer would talk about how users will always want substantial processing power on their desktops.
When Mossberg would muse about whether the Apple iPad represents a new era, Ballmer would insist that the iPad is just another form factor (while at the same time seeming not to want to count its sales as part of the market share for laptop computers).
Mossberg was inquisitive about the future, Ozzie was expansive about it (when given the chance to talk), and Ballmer insistent that the future would look much like the present.
Steve also seemed to have a hardwired US-centric view of things, scorning the $50-70 annual budget he found among consumers in India, describing Malaysia as "remote" in his wondernment that the latest technology has reached this part of the world, and lamenting the loss of revenue for 60 to 70 million copies of Office that he said would be pirated in China this year.
All In or All Done?
Microsoft announced some changes to its Cloud offerings just this week, a few days after announcing Ray Ozzie's resignation, and it certainly could be that these two events are connected, if not directly related. Even though Steve Ballmer famously said Redmond is "all in" with its Cloud bet, it doesn't seem to be the case.
Where Apple continues to push the limits of product design, Microsoft seems to be hanging on, grimly, to evolving its cash cows to the Cloud as slowly as possible. Meanwhile, Google has not yet gone away.
Neither Apple nor Microsoft seem especially interested in Enterprise Cloud Computing, the land being staked out, in uniquely different ways, by Oracle, HP, IBM, Cisco, Amazon, and Google.
In contrast, both Apple and Microsoft remain focused on end-users rather than IT buyers. Who knows who will win in the end? Who knows if this is even the most important part of the Cloud?
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 27, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,148
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 27, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,183
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,090
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,289
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,315
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,377
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 27, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,045
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
May. 27, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,960
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 27, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,886
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 27, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,116
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 27, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,367
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 27, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,924
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 27, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,278
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 27, 2016 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,120
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
May. 27, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,528
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
May. 27, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,490
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
May. 27, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 725
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 27, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,133
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
May. 27, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,976
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 27, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,745