Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Kevin Benedict, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Harry Trott

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microsoft Cloud, Silverlight, Wearables

@CloudExpo: Article

Ray Ozzie, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs & The Cloud

Interviews Reveal That Some Things Never Change

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.

Not Bill
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?

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DXWorldExpo has been named “Global Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation is the key issue driving the global enterprise IT business. Digital Transformation is most prominent among Global 2000 enterprises and government institutions.
21st International Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Me...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Secure Channels, a cybersecurity firm, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Secure Channels, Inc. offers several products and solutions to its many clients, helping them protect critical data from being compromised and access to computer networks from the unauthorized. The company develops comprehensive data encryption security strategie...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, discussed how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees learned how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He also looked at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers can be the ...