Posts Tagged ‘netscape’

Windows in the clouds?

November 29th, 2006 No comments

Will the next version of Windows (after Vista) be delivered as web services? Mary Jo Foley thinks that there might be something to this idea, speculating on a few lines in a Wall Street Journal article titled “Life After Vista” and a follow-up interview with a Microsoft exec. The more moderate position that the article ends with is that Microsoft is working to develop an integrated strategy around delivering both shrink-wrapped software for the PC and online services.

I paid attention because I’m fascinated with the rebirth of the “browser is the OS” thinking that was first began when I was working with web development in 1994 or so. Netscape was really pushing the idea that if you could deliver applications through a browser, then the desktop OS was irrelevant. Of course, this was what finally motivated Microsoft to respond to Netscape and eventually crush them (and be prosecuted).

This will be an important strategy for Microsoft because it allows them to respond to Google’s online offerings with a combination of online/offline and AJAX / rich desktop client applications that can offer the best of both worlds. People that are comfortable with using Microsoft Office applications will benefit from more sophisticated means to take content that was created on the desktop and access it or share it with others in the cloud. My opinion is that this is the right approach for Microsoft – to extend their desktop apps and make them more useful – not by making online versions of the same apps, but by making their existing apps play well with new online services.

Next time I’ll write about what I think Apple’s opportunity is to find a working strategy in this space.

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