Microsoft and the Cloud: The Highlights from Ballmer's Speech

In case you missed it, Steve Ballmer spoke on Thursday about Microsoft and the company’s vision for its cloud services to a group of students from the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. If you missed the speech, you can go watch it here on the Windows Team Blog.

However, if you just want the highlights, we’ve got you covered:

The New Website

A site dedicated to Microsoft’s Cloud Services launched at http://www.microsoft.com/cloud/

The Stats

  1. 70% of Microsoft’s workforce is working on cloud computing or cloud-related activities
  2. Next year, that will be 90%
  3. Windows Live ID’s identity and authentication system has 460 million users

The 5 Bullet Points

  • The Cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities: This made me think of the Spider-Man quote, “with great power comes great responsibility.” But that’s kind of what he meant. As SeattlePi summarized, “The industry must strike a balance between the immense power of cloud computing and the privacy concerns that go along with it…As a result of this interconnectedness and the cloud's relative ease of use, the ‘creators,’ as he called them, have all the power. ‘For the creator to have the opportunity to build a strong business,’ Ballmer said.
  • The cloud learns and helps you learn, decide and take action. Here he talked about how the cloud needs to learn in order to improve. The idea of machine learning was touched on.
  • The Cloud enhances social and professional interactions. No surprise here: social networks like Facebook, Xbox Live,  and Twitter are big cloud businesses. Ballmer also mentioned how Office was moving to the cloud with Office 2010 and the Office Web Apps that arrive with it.
  •  The cloud wants smarter devices. Here Ballmer talked about the 3 screens: TV, PC, mobile. The PC is represented by Windows, the TV is connected to Xbox and the mobile is now Windows Phone 7 Series – a device “really designed for the cloud.”
  • The cloud drives server advances that drive the cloud. As cloud technology advances, so will the server technology that supports the cloud. Things like scaling, rapid deployment, peak load, virtualization, and next gen servers were discussed. A containerized data center was shown – it actually sat outside the Allen Center where the talk was held. Inside the shipping container were servers, cooling systems and cabling. 

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