|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?
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,490
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,469
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Sep. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,546
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,687
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Sep. 25, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 822
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 941
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
Sep. 25, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 866
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Sep. 25, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,764
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 25, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,537
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
Sep. 25, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,485
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Sep. 25, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,500
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Sep. 25, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,668
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Sep. 25, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,808
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT de...
Sep. 25, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,001
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Sep. 25, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,517
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Sep. 25, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,386
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Sep. 25, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,355
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Sep. 25, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,720
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Sep. 25, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,219
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Sep. 25, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,042